July 25, 2012

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 an Illinois soldier killed earlier this month in Afghanistan.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise, Thursday, July 26, until sunset, Saturday, July 28, in honor of U.S. Army Sgt. Michael E. Ristau of Rockford.

Reports said Ristau, 25, died July 13, in Qalat, in the Zabul province of Afghanistan, after an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle.

Ristau enlisted in the Army in 2004 and was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Ristau was on his second tour; he was in Iraq from June 2006 through August 2007, and deployed to Afghanistan last December.

Ristau graduated from Lincoln's Challenge Academy in Rantoul in 2004, according to reports. Survivors include Ristau's parents, his wife, and two sons, including one born two weeks before Ristau deployed with his unit.