A spokesman for the Iowa National Guard says he feels humbled by Governor Chet Culver’s decision to lower flags to half-staff for today’s funeral of a fallen Iowa Guard officer. State and national flags flown at Iowa government buildings will come down to half mast for the funeral of Command Sergeant Major Marilyn Gabbard.
Gabbard died in the crash of a Blackhawk helicopter northeast of Baghdad January 20th. Gabbard was the first woman elevated to the rank of Command Sergeant Major by the Iowa National Guard. Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says it was a gracious gesture by the Governor’s office.
Hapgood says this is unprecedented for the state, certainly in the global war on terror. "We as an organization are absolutely humbled by the governor’s gesture," Hapgood says. Governor Culver issued and executive order so that flags will be lowered to half staff for any future Iowan who dies in combat.
Hapgood says the Governor has indicated this will be a long-standing policy to honor fallen Iowans. Gabbard is believed to be the first woman Iowa guardmember killed in combat. The funeral for Gabbard is this morning at 11 o’clock in the Boone High School Gym. She’ll be buried at Fairview Cemetery in Madrid.