October 05, 2011

Flags lowered to honor war 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 Champaign soldier killed last month in a military helicopter crash in California.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, Oct. 6, until sunset, Saturday, Oct. 8, in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jeffrey Bland.

Reports said Bland, 37, and another Marine from Illinois, 1st Lt. Thomas Heitman, 27, of Mendota, died Sept. 19 when the two-seat Marine attack Cobra helicopter they were in went down during a training exercise in a remote area of Camp Pendleton.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Bland joined the Marines in June 1997. 

Bland and Heitman were both assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.