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Flags ordered to half-staff in honor of Navy Seal Michael T. Ernst who died in parachute accident

Flags in Massachusetts were ordered to fly at half-staff Tuesday in honor of a Massachusetts Navy Seal who died in a parachuting accident in February.

Michael T. Ernst, a decorated U.S. Navy Seal, grew up in Cohasset. He was participating in a free-fall training in Arizona on Feb. 19 when he was injured and later pronounced dead.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Navy, according to a statement from the head of the Naval Special Warfare Command.

Gov. Maura Healey has ordered both the U.S. flag and the Massachusetts state flag to be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday, March 28, from sunrise to sunset in honor of Ernst.

Ernst will be laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday.

The Navy Seal Foundation has started a fundraiser to raise money for Ernst’s family.

“As you can imagine, Mike’s wife, two children (ages 5 and almost 3), and the NSW community are devastated by this loss,” The Navy Seal Foundation said on its website. “The NSF team has been working with the Command to support everyone’s needs.

The foundation included a photo of Ernst with his wife, two children and the family’s dog.

Healey also ordered flags at half-staff from March 28 to March 31 as a “mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on March 27, 2023, in Nashville, Tennesee.” A shooting at a Christian school there has left six people dead. Her order coincides with a presidential proclamation also ordering flags to half-staff.

The half-staff order applies to the main or administration building of each Massachusetts public institution as well as town and city halls and any other state-owned or controlled buildings and state military installations.


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