Gov. Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff on Thursday, May 17, 2012, in honor of a Kentucky soldier who died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to the Department of Defense, Pfc. Dustin D. Gross, 19, of Jeffersonville, Ky. died May 7, in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. Also killed were Sgt. Jacob M. Schwallie, 22, of Clarksville, Tenn., and Spc. Chase S. Marta, 24, of Chico, Calif.
Last year, Dustin Gross graduated from Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. He joined the Army and soon deployed on his first tour, to serve in Afghanistan. The high school brought in Counselors to the school after the students were notified of his death.
Pfc. Gross’ family, also devastated by the loss of their young soldier-son, released this statement: "We love and are very proud of Dustin. This is very hard for us. We appreciate all the prayers, love and support from our family, friends and the community. We just need to mourn our loss in private at this time."
Funeral services for Pfc. Gross will held on May 17 at 11 a.m. Eastern time at Montgomery County High School in Mt. Sterling. Burial services will immediately follow at Machpelah Cemetery in Mt. Sterling. Gov. Beshear is encouraging individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute.
A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Pfc. Dustin D. Gross of Jeffersonville, Kentucky, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, May 9, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Adrian R. Rowan)
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