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Army Capt. John R. Brainard III

Died May 28, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine; assigned to 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Ansbach-Katterbach, Germany; died May 28 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed. Also killed was Army Chief Warrant Officer Five John C. Pratt.

Apache pilot killed in Afghanistan crash

The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — An Army captain from Maine was killed Monday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, members of Maine’s congressional delegation said.

Capt. John “Jay” Brainard II of Newport, 26, was killed when his AH-64 Apache attack helicopter crashed while on patrol, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said.

Brainard was a helicopter pilot assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. He was a 2004 graduate of Foxcroft Academy and a 2008 graduate of the University of Maine.

Officials with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said Monday that a helicopter crash killed two NATO members in eastern Afghanistan. Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash, but initial reports indicated there was no enemy activity in the area at the time the helicopter went down, the coalition said.

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe said Brainard’s death was an “unfathomable sacrifice” in serving the country.

“For those who make this ultimate sacrifice on behalf of us all, there are no words to express both our boundless gratitude and immense grief,” Snowe said in a statement.

Gov. Paul LePage also expressed sadness at the loss of Brainard. “We are forever indebted to his display of courage and selfless sacrifice,” LePage said in a statement.

Flags to be lowered for Maine soldier's funeral

The Associated Press

BANGOR, Maine — Flags across Maine will fly at half-staff on Saturday as a funeral Mass is held for an Army captain who died on Memorial Day when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in Afghanistan.

The body of Capt. John Brainard III arrived in Maine on Thursday, and a wake was to be held Friday evening.

Brainard, of Newport, "loved serving in the Army," according to a statement from the Maine National Guard. It also quoted his widow, Emily, as saying Brainard was so dedicated to the Army that he "bled green" and believed his most important job was helping other soldiers.

Details of the crash that took the 26-year-old's life were unclear Friday but military officials say there was no enemy activity in the area at the time. Another soldier, Chief Warrant Officer Five John Pratt, 51, of Springfield, Va., also died in the crash.

Brainard was born in Waterville and attended Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, where he played jazz trumpet and was a member of the swim team and the 2003 championship football team. At the University of Maine, Brainard participated in ROTC and graduated magna cum laude in 2008 as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army. He had met his wife in college, and they were married that year.

Brainard attended flight school in Fort Rucker, Ala., and was deployed as an Apache helicopter pilot to Afghanistan on April 30.

After his body arrived back in Maine, hundreds of people lined the highway Thursday as his motorcade, led by state police and the Maine Patriot Riders, made the 26-mile ride from Bangor to Newport.

All four members of Maine's congressional delegation expressed condolences to Brainard's widow. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree also noted that 21 Mainers are among the 2,000 she said have lost their lives in Afghanistan.

"The war has gone on too long and I continue to urge the president to bring all our troops home as soon as possible," said Pingree, D-Maine. President Barack Obama wants to bring all troops home from Afghanistan by 2014.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church in Dexter, followed by burial in Plymouth.

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