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Governor Granholm Orders Flags Flown at Half-Staff for Three Servicemen Killed in Iraq

January 5, 2004

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today ordered that United States flags throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters be lowered on Tuesday, January 6, Wednesday, January 7, and Thursday, January 8, in honor of Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Christensen of Brighton, Staff Sgt. Stephen C. Hattamer of Gwinn, and Staff Sgt. Michael Sutter of Tinley Park, Illinois, respectively, who were killed while on active duty in Iraq.

On December 10, 2003, Governor Granholm issued a proclamation requiring United States flags lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and half-mast on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in action.

Staff Sgt. Christensen and Staff Sgt. Hattamer were assigned to the 652nd Engineering Company Detachment based in Harvey, Michigan.  The 652nd is a U.S. Army Reserve bridge-building unit attached to the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division.  They were killed on December 25, 2003, when their living quarters in Baqubah, Iraq came under mortar attack.

Staff Sgt. Christensen is survived by his father, Thomas Christensen, and his mother, Janet Sprey.  He is also survived by two brothers, Chris and Norman; a sister, Heidi; four stepsisters, Ruth Ann Stover, Nancy Clay, Barbara Betzine, and Peggy Wicks; and two stepbrothers, Donald and Richard Clay.

Staff Sgt. Hattamer is survived by his wife, Karen, and three children, Bryce, Alyssa, and Tyler, who reside in Gwinn, Michigan.  He is also survived by his mother, Rose; sisters Theresa, Marge, Rosanne, and Sharon; and brothers, Frank and Eric.  All reside in Spokane, Washington.

Staff Sgt. Sutter was assigned to the 745th Explosive Ordnance Detachment of the Michigan National Guard stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.  He was killed on December 26, 2003, near Baqubah, Iraq when an explosive device he was trying to disarm exploded.  Staff Sgt. Sutter is survived by his parents, Judy and John Sutter of Tinley Park, Illinois.

When a member of the armed services from Michigan is killed in action, the Governor will issue a press release with information about the individual(s) and the day that has been designated for flags to be lowered in his or her honor.  The information will also be posted on Governor Granholm’s web site at in the section titled ‘Spotlight’.