Flags to fly at half-staff for Westbrook

<i>Courtesy photo</i><br>
The late U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook

<i>Courtesy photo</i><br> The late U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., on Wednesday ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff from Oct. 14 through Oct. 17 in honor and recognition of the late U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook, 41, of Shiprock, N.M., and Fountain, Colo.

Sgt. Westbrook died Oct. 7 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. of wounds suffered Sept. 8 when insurgents attacked his unit in the Ganjigal Valley, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

"All of the Navajo Nation is stunned and deeply grieved to learn that the Westbrook family has lost a second brave son in the War on Terror," President Shirley said. "Like his brother Marshall, who died in Iraq in 2005, Kenneth gave his life protecting us all and defending freedom, doing what he fervently believed in, and living a life of honor. Our hearts and our deepest condolences go out to his family."

Sgt. Westbrook brother, U.S. Army Sgt. Marshall A Westbrook, 43, of Farmington, N.M. was killed Oct. 1, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 126th Military Police Company, Albuquerque, N.M.

Sgt. Westbrook grew up in Shiprock and joined the Army after graduating from Shiprock High School in 1987.

He is survived by his wife, Charlene, his three sons, Zachary, 20, Joshua, 18, and Joseph, 14, his mother, Ruth A. Westbrook, of Farmington, his brother, Richard Westbrook, of Kirtland, N.M. and a sister, Sandra Ray, of Farmington.

Sgt. Westbrook also served in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars. He was deployed to Afghanistan from Fort Riley, Kan., in November last year. He had a home in Fountain and planned to retire from the military in November.

His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Farmington Civic Center.

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