ST. GEORGE – As the body of a Utah National Guardsman returned home Thursday, the governor has ordered United States flags across the state be lowered to half-staff in honor of the fallen soldier.
Last week, Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler, 27, of Monticello was killed in eastern Afghanistan when an explosion destroyed the building he and 11 others were clearing at the time. He was a part of 1st Bravo Company, 19th Special Force Group (Airborne) and was a Special Forces Green Beret.
Butler’s unit was in Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan as a part of operations against Islamic State groups in the region, according to the Utah National Guard.
Butler’s body was flown to Monticello via a private plane just before noon Thursday, Fox 13 News reports. A motorcade carrying the body then passed from Monticello to Blanding.
Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered the American flag to be lowered to half-staff on Saturday, the same day Butler’s body is set to be laid to rest.
The governor previously issued the following statement:
Jeanette and I were heartbroken to hear of the passing of one of Utah’s best, Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler. Tonight, we join all Utahns in grieving for him, and honoring his sacrifice — the ultimate sacrifice. Our hearts ache for his family, friends and loved ones, and they will long be on our minds and in our prayers.
We pray also for the 11 members of his group who were injured in the explosion. May their healing come swiftly, and may they find comfort and strength through the coming weeks and months as they work toward recovery.
It truly isn’t possible to offer adequate thanks to those who put their lives on the line day after day in the defense of freedom around the world. May God’s greatest blessings graciously fall upon those brave men and women who are dedicated to the service of their fellowmen.
Flags will be flown at half-staff at all state facilities and public grounds from sunrise until sunset on Saturday only. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time.
The funeral services are set for Saturday at noon at the Monticello LDS Stake Center in Monticello. Prior to that, a viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Internment will be at the Monticello City Cemetery.
- San Juan Record: Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler’s obituary
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