July 17, 2009

Flags lowered to honor war casualties

Under a proclamation signed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, the United States flag and the Illinois flag are to be at half-staff at all State of Illinois facilities in honor of two Illinois National Guard members killed last week while serving in the military in the war in Afghanistan.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff beginning at sunrise, Thursday, July 16, until sunset, Saturday, July 18, in honor of U.S. Army Sgt. Derwin Williams, and from sunrise, Saturday, July 18, until sunset, Monday, July 20, for U.S. Army Sgt. Chester W. Hosford.

Reports indicate that Williams, 41, of Glenwood, and Hosford, 35, of Ottawa, were killed Monday, July 6, when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device near Konduz, Afghanistan. They were deployed to Afghanistan in August 2008 to provide police mentor teams to train and mentor Afghan National Police, according to the Illinois Army National Guard.

Both were deployed with Troop B, 2nd Battalion, 106th Calvary, based in Dixon. Both received posthumous promotions to the rank of sergeant.

This was Williams’ second deployment. He enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in July 1993. He was deployed to Iraq from January 2004 to March 2005.

This was Hosford’s first deployment to Afghanistan, according to reports. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1993, and later transferred to the Illinois Army National Guard in 2008.

There have been 17 casualties from the Illinois Army National Guard’s 33 rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team since its deployment to Afghanistan, according to the Illinois Army National Guard. There have been 33 Illinois Army National Guard casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.