National Guard releases golden eagle to honor Utah soldiers

Bluffdale, Utah (AP) 3-08

The Utah National Guard released a golden eagle over Camp Williams to commemorate soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The once-injured eagle was thrown aloft with an honor guard a prayer from Utah’s Indian Affairs director Forrest Cuch.

The ceremony took place Saturday at the Utah Veteran’s Memorial Park Cemetery.

Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ray “Buz” Marthaler released the bird from a hand strap.

The eagle sustained a head injury last May after hitting a semitrailer in southern Utah. It was brought back by Patti Richards of Great Basin Wildlife Rehabilitation in Springville.

Marthaler, a volunteer at Ogden Nature Center, said he tossed the eagle into the air after a crowded counted to three.

The bird took flight and soared over the south end of the Salt Lake valley.