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Flags lowered for two killed in Afghanistan

Sept. 18, 2008

LANSING, Mich.--By order of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. flags on all campuses of Western Michigan University and throughout Michigan will be lowered Friday, Sept. 19, and Monday, Sept. 22, in honor of two Michigan men killed while on active duty in Afghanistan.

Friday, Sept. 19, flags will be lowered in honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer John Wayne Marcum, age 34, of Flushing, Mich., who died Sept. 12 from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan Sept. 11. Marcum was temporarily forward deployed from his assignment at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dam Neck, Va.

Monday, Sept. 22, flags will be lowered in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Gregory A. Rodriguez, age 35, of Weidman, Mich., who died Sept. 2 from wounds suffered in Ana Kalay, Afghanistan, when his mounted patrol came under small arms fire. He was assigned to the K-9 unit of the 527th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, Ansbach, Germany.

In December 2003, Gov. Granholm issued a proclamation requiring U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty.

Michigan was among the first states to honor its fallen sons and daughters by lowering flags. More than 20 states now follow the practice in some form, including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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