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Governor orders flags to be flown at half-staff to honor WWII vet

usa-flagDES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Iowa from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, October 20, 2014, in honor of Staff Sgt. Maurice L. Fevold, formerly of Badger/Eagle Grove, Iowa.

The Governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

Fevold, a 21-year old Badger/Eagle Grove, Iowa native was assigned to the 599th Bomber Squadron, 397th Bomber Group (Medium), U.S. Army Air Corps. On Dec. 23, 1944, the first day of aviation operations for the Battle of the Bulge, Fevold, along with five other crew members, took off from Saint Quentin, France onboard a B-26G Marauder bomber aircraft to attack an enemy-held railroad bridge in Eller, Germany. Their aircraft was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire near Seffern, Germany, which borders Belgium. A total of 10 U.S. aircraft were recorded as lost in the vicinity of Seffern during this specific mission.

Fevold, the aircraft’s armorer-gunner, and the entire crew were officially declared deceased on Dec. 23, 1944, but their remains were never recovered. In November 2006, the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command – Central Identification Laboratory (JPAC) received information of a possible aircraft crash site near Allmuthen, Belgium. In March 2007, a JPAC Investigation Team surveyed the purported crash site, where human remains and physical evidence were recovered in 2012 by JPAC personnel.

In 2014, JPAC’s Research and Analysis Group concluded a historical association existed between the artifacts and human remains recovered at the Belgium excavation site and Missing Air Crew Report #11985 from World War II. Mitochondrial DNA testing positively identified the remains as belonging to Fevold and other crew members from the missing aircraft.

Maurice Fevold was born Feb. 21, 1923 near Badger, Iowa to John and Carrie (Thorson) Fevold. He grew up in the Badger/Eagle Grove, Iowa area and was a 1941 graduate of Eagle Grove High School.

Fevold enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 12, 1943, and transferred into the U.S. Army Air Corps in June 1943. Fevold attended armament training at Lowry Field, Colo., aerial training at Ft. Myers, Fla., and then B-26 flight training at Barksdale Field, La. He left the U.S. for duty in the European theater in April 1944 and was assigned to the 599th Bomber Squadron, 397th Bomber Group, Medium, U.S. Army Air Corps.

His military awards and honors include the Purple Heart (posthumous), Air Medal (11 awards), Army Good Conduct Medal (posthumous), European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with one silver service star), World War II Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Enlisted Aircrew Member Wings.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Jeanette Prime. He is survived by great nephews and great nieces: William Bushman of Missouri; Robert Sweeney of Hawaii; Michael Sweeney of Washington; Vicki Riley of Iowa; and Shelly Everheart.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, Oct. 19 from 5-7 p.m. at Bruce Funeral Home, 923 1st Ave. South, Fort Dodge, Iowa. A memorial service will be held on Monday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. at Bruce Funeral Home, followed by interment at the Blossom Hill Cemetery, Badger, Iowa (located northeast of Badger on 110th St. and Racine Ave.), with full military honors provided by the Iowa National Guard. The public is welcome to attend the visitation, funeral, and graveside service.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the family in care of Bruce Funeral Home, 923 1st Ave. South, Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501.

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Oh no, not another call to the VFW to alert them of this directive…

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