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      Ottumwa soldier dies in line of duty

      -Update Friday, June 3, 2011-

      Flags to be lowered for Iowan slain in Afghanistan Eds: APNewsNow.

      DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The governor has ordered state and U.S. flags under state control to be lowered to half-staff in honor of a 28-year-old Iowa airman killed when a bomb exploded in Afghanistan.

      The office of Gov. Terry Branstad says the flags must be lowered from 8 a.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Monday for Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Hamski, of Ottumwa. He died May 26.

      A funeral Mass for Hamski is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Ottumwa. Burial will be at Ottumwa Cemetery.

      Hamski graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001 and briefly attended Iowa State University before joining the Air Force.

      Survivors include his wife, Air Force Staff Sgt. Maria Christina Hamski.

      --Original Story, Saturday, May 28--

      Family members are mourning the death of a 28-year-old staff sergeant from Iowa who was killed in Afghanistan this week.

      The Pentagon says Staff Sgt. Joseph J. Hamski of Ottumwa, Iowa was among two airmen killed in the Shorabak district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan when a bomb exploded.

      Hamski died May 26 of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

      Eighty-3-year-old Ray Hamski of Duluth, Minn., told the Des Moines Register his grandson's death is a "devastating loss."

      Joseph Hamski graduated from Ottumwa High School in 2001 and briefly attended Iowa State University before joining the Air Force.

      According to our newsgathering partner KTVO, the airman's mother, Mary Ellen Winston of Ottumwa, and other family members left Friday afternoon headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

      Reece Funeral Home in Ottumwa will be handling Hamski's funeral arrangements.

      Hamski was assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. He had worked as an explosives and demolitions engineer training others to defuse bombs.

      Hamski is survived by his wife, Air Force Staff Sgt. Maria Christina Hamski, and his mother, two sisters and brother.

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