Governor orders flags half-staff for Idaho Falls soldier killed in Afghanistan

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has ordered all U.S. and state flags in Idaho to be flown at half-staff on Saturday, Sept. 14, in honor of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Dustin B. Ard.

Ard, of Idaho Falls, died Aug. 29 from wounds sustained during combat operations in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.

Ard, 31, was a Green Beret with the 1st Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

He is the son of former Ammon, Idaho, Mayor Bruce Ard.

“I want to express my sincerest condolences to the family of Sgt. 1st Class Ard,” Little said in a news release. “Ard leaves a legacy for all Idahoans of strength, service, and loyalty to this great nation. Please join me by honoring him on September 14. As you see flags at half-staff that day, take a moment to reflect on the great sacrifice Ard and his family have made in service to the United States of America.”

Four American soldiers have died in Afghanistan since Aug. 21. In addition to Ard, Master Sgt. Louis DeLeon-Figueroa, from Chicopee, Massachusetts; Master Sgt. Jose Gonzalez, from La Puente, California; and Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, were all killed in action.

Idaho Rep. Rod Furniss posted a statement from Mayor Ard on his Facebook page:

“We received news that we lost our son Dustin in Afghanistan. My heart has a hole so big, I can hardly stand it. He was the finest young man I have ever known. Not because he was my son, but because of the person he is. A great son, brother, father and husband. He loved his country and was the kind of person we should all be. Son, I love you and know we will see each other again. I will miss you every day I live without you. Love, Dad.”

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Idaho Statesman investigative reporter Cynthia Sewell was named Idaho Press Club reporter of the year in 2017 and 2008. A University of Oregon graduate, she joined the Statesman in 2005. Her family has lived in Idaho since the mid-1800s.