Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard of Arizona killed in Afghanistan

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A soldier from Arizona and based at Fort Bragg has died from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department said Sunday that 29-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard of Sierra Vista, Ariz., died Saturday in Khanabad District, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

Savard was originally from Jefferson, N.H. He graduated in 2001 from Buena High School in Sierra Vista.

The governors of both Arizona and New Hampshire ordered that flags be flown at half-staff Sunday in honor of Savard.

Statement by Governor Jan Brewer

Lowering Flags for a Fallen Soldier

"Please join me in saluting an American hero who gave his life in service to the United States. Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard, 29, of Sierra Vista, was killed October 13, 2012, when he came under small-arms fire while on patrol in Khanabad District, Afghanistan.

"Sgt. 1st Class Savard was serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He had been assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and was based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

"By now, we should need no reminder of the dangers our brave servicemen and women face while carrying out their duties. More than 2,000 American soldiers have been lost in the execution of Operation Enduring Freedom, launched in defense of this nation following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"Our cause is noble and just, but the grief is no less staggering for the families and friends left behind when one of our own is killed in wartime. I ask that Arizonans join me in offering our sincere gratitude to Sgt. 1st Class Savard, and a prayer for his loved ones. Let us hold in our hearts the courageous men and women in uniform who remain in harm's way so that we can be safe and free.

"In honor of Arizona's fallen hero – Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard – I have ordered that flags at all State buildings be flown at half-staff until sunset today,         October 14, 2012. State flags will again be lowered on the day of his interment, for which services are pending."