Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Associated Press
BANGOR - Flags across Maine will fly at half-staff today 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 of Newport arrived in Maine on Thursday, and a wake was to be held Friday evening.
Brainard "loved serving in the Army," according to a statement from the Maine National Guard. It quoted his widow, Emily, as saying Brainard, 26, was so dedicated to the Army that he "bled green" and believed that his most important job was helping other soldiers.
Details of the crash that took his life remain unclear, 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., 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 met his future wife in college, and they got 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 Maine 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 noted that 21 Mainers are among the 2,000 she said have lost their lives in Afghanistan.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church in Dexter, followed by burial in Plymouth.