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Dustin Ard

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Gov. Brad Little has ordered all U.S. and state flags in Idaho to be flown at half-staff on Saturday, in honor of an Idaho Falls soldier who died Aug. 29 in combat in Afghanistan. U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Dustin B. Ard was 31; he died from wounds sustained during combat operations in Zabul Province.

“I want to express my sincerest condolences to the family of Sgt. 1st Class Ard,” Little said in a statement today. “Ard leaves a legacy for all Idahoans of strength, service, and loyalty to this great nation. Please join me by honoring him on Sept. 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.”

Ard, a Green Beret, was the third U.S. Special Forces soldier to die in Afghanistan in less than two weeks. Newsweek reported that Ard was on his third deployment in Afghanistan, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart. The magazine also reported that the Idaho soldier leaves behind a young daughter and a pregnant wife.

According to a Saturday press release from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Ard earned numerous awards, medals and decorations, and was promoted to Sergeant 1st Class on Aug. 1.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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