NORFOLK-A soldier who graduated from Old Dominion University has been killed in combat in Afghanistan.
First Lieutenant Robert J. Hess of Fairfax died April 22 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan.
Gov. Bob McDonnell ordered flags in his hometown and at state buildings to be flown at half staff on Saturday, May 4, from sunrise to sunset in tribute.
The 26-year-old was commissioned as a Blackhawk pilot in November 2010 after attending ODU, where he majored in Criminal Justice and was on the swimming and diving team.
In a release, ODU swimming coach Carol Withus said, “"R.J. worked extremely hard in everything that he set out to accomplish. He was so active around the University, especially within the ROTC. R.J. was always a team player that was willing to compete in any event for the Monarchs."
ODU said Hess deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom earlier this month. He was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge, among many others, according to the university.
"R.J. is going to be sorely missed," Coach Withus added.
Hess is survived by his mother and father, Robert and Lauren Hess of Fairfax, and brother, Patrick, according to ODU.
ODU said Hess swam for three years at Robinson High School in Fairfax, garnering three state championships and that he played linebacker on the school's 2005 state championship-winning football team.
The family will receive family and friends at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Va., from 6 until 8 p.m. Friday, May 3, and from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4.
His funeral will be held at Memorial Chapel, Fort Myer, Va., at 11 a.m. Monday, May 13, with full military honors and interment at Arlington National Cemetery.
Governor’s flag authorization for the County of Arlington, the County of Fairfax, and the City of Fairfax
Be it further encouraged that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia may be flown at half-staff on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in the County of Arlington, the County of Fairfax, the City of Fairfax, and in any other locality as deemed appropriate, in respect and memory of United States Army First Lieutenant Robert J. Hess.
I hereby authorize that the flags shall be lowered at sunrise on Saturday, May 4th, 2013, and remain at half-staff until sunset.
Authorized on this the 3rd day of May, 2013.
Robert F. McDonnell