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Flags lowered for Michigan man killed in Afghanistan

June 22, 2010

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 Thursday, June 24, in honor of Air Force 1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, of Grass Lake, Mich., who died while on a rescue mission in Afghanistan.

Gentz, age 25, died June 9 alongside three fellow airmen near Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a helicopter crash. He was assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Gentz's family has requested that flags be lowered Thursday, June 24, the day of his funeral service at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Chelsea, Mich.

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.

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Media contact: Tonya Durlach, (269) 387-8400, tonya.durlach@wmich.edu

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