January 18, 2012

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 former Illinois men killed earlier this month in Afghanistan.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff immediately, Wednesday, Jan. 18, until sunset, Friday, Jan. 20, in honor of U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Metzger.  Flags will be flown at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, Jan. 19, until sunset, Saturday, Jan. 21, in honor of U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Christopher A. Patterson.

Metzger and Patterson were among four members of an Indiana National Guard unit killed Jan. 6 in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device they were attempting to clear detonated, according to reports.  Both were assigned to the 713th Sapper Engineering Company.

Metzger, 32, graduated from Rich South High School in Richton Park in 1998, and his parents live in St. Anne.  He joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school, and the Indiana National Guard in 2006 following his 2005 honorable discharge from the Marine Corps.

Patterson, 20, a 2009 graduate of West Aurora High School, grew up in North Aurora and was attending Valparaiso University studying music education when he took a leave in November from his studies to deploy with his unit, according to reports.