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Fallen Pa. soldier laid to rest, flags fly at half-staff - abc27 WHTM

Fallen Pa. soldier laid to rest, flags fly at half-staff

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Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Ruffner Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Ruffner

Family, friends and strangers are remembering a midstate Pennsylvania National Guard member killed in Afghanistan.

Flags are flying at half-staff at the State Capitol Complex by order of Governor Corbett in honor of 34-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Ruffner of Harrisburg.

He was the pilot of an Apache helicopter that crashed last week.

Before deploying, Ruffner was a full-time instructor for the Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility at Fort Indiantown Gap. He was on his first deployment.

His funeral was on Saturday in his hometown of Punxsutawney.

Ruffner is survived by his parents Charles and Diane, his brother Jeffrey, nieces Caitlin and Cara, three aunts, two uncles, numerous cousins and his long-time sweetheart Jackeline Bignardi, according to his obituary on PennLive.com

He was a 1997 graduate of London High School in Ohio and later graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Decorated with the Army Achievement Medal, three Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals and the Parachutist Badge, he originally joined the military in 1997 as a mechanic Ohio. He later transferred to Indiana, Pennsylvania where he completed warrant officer training.

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