April 13, 2011 | WMU News
LANSING, Mich.--By order of Gov. Rick Snyder, U.S. flags on all campuses of Western Michigan University and throughout Michigan will be lowered Friday, April 15, in honor of U.S. Navy hospitalman Benjamin D. Rast, of Niles, Mich., who died April 6 in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
Rast, age 23, died of wounds suffered while conducting a dismounted patrol northeast of Patrol Base Alcatraz. He was assigned as a hospitalman to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division at the Naval Medical Center, Expeditionary Medical Force Detachment in San Diego. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Pistol Marksmanship Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Rast's visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 15, and the memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 16. Both will take place in the Brandywine High School gym in Niles.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm issued a proclamation in December 2003, requiring U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty.
Michigan was among the first states to honor its fallen sons and daughters by lowering flags.