November 17, 2009

Flags lowered to honor Fort Hood casualty

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 a U.S. Army soldier killed in the Nov. 5 attack at Fort Hood.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff beginning immediately Tuesday, Nov. 17, until sunset, Thursday, Nov. 19, in honor of U.S. Army. Pvt. Francheska Velez

Velez, 21, of Chicago, was among 13 killed in the attack on the Army base in Killeen, Texas, where Velez was stationed. The suspect, Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is charged in a military court with 13 counts of premeditated murder. Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed.

Reports indicate Velez returned to the United States from a foreign post just three days before the attack. She disarmed bombs in Iraq, and transferred to Fort Hood to begin maternity leave upon learning she was pregnant.

Velez joined the Army in 2006 after graduating from Kelvyn Park High School.

Another U.S. Army soldier from Illinois, Pfc. Michael Pearson of Bolingbrook also died in the attack.