12th CAB, ASCC unveil dedication to two Soldiers during Memorial Day ceremony
May 30, 2013
ANSBACH, Germany (May 30, 2013) -- A crowd of Soldiers and many others gathered at the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade's Memorial Garden beside their headquarters May 29. The purpose of the gathering was twofold: To unveil a memorial to Capt. John "Jay" Brainard III and Chief Warrant Officer 5 John C. Pratt and to remember the many military service members who gave everything in service to their country.
Brainard and Pratt, co-pilots of an AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter, were killed in action when their helicopter was shot down in the Wardak province of Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom May 28, 2012.
"Jay and John [were people] willing to give more than they would ever receive and willing to give the last full measure of devotion to this country while accomplishing their deeds," said Col. Jay Voorhees, commander of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, during his remarks at the ceremony. "Although different in many ways -- age, background, experience -- Jay and John were also very similar. They exemplify the best of their generations."
The monument to the memory of the two aviation Soldiers is a short, stone pillar on the east side of the garden. In addition to their names on the stone, the monument also includes a quote by Benjamin Disraeli, 19th century British prime minister: "The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example."
The monument, unveiled almost on the anniversary of the date of Brainard's and Pratt's sacrifice to the nation, was the work of the Ansbach Spouses and Civilians Club. Voorhees thanked the club.
"You have left 12th CAB and the community with a lasting legacy that will endure as we will never forget our fallen," said Voorhees. "Your energy in making this idea become reality is something that we will never be able to thank you enough for."
Voorhees; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Tom Walton; Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Clowser, the brigade command sergeant major; Emily Brainard, wife of Capt. John "Jay" Brainard; and Cheyenne Nevada, president of the ASCC, unveiled the monument.
"I am personally humbled that I had a chance to serve with, to be the commander, and to be the friend of Captain Jay Brainard and Chief Warrant Officer Five John Pratt," said Voorhees. "It will stand as one of the greatest honors of my lifetime."
The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach command team, Col. Kelly J. Lawler and Command Sgt. Maj. Leeford C. Cain, also attended the event. Lawler reminded the audience of the importance of Memorial Day as a national holiday.
"Today we honor the memory of all those American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians that have sacrificed their lives in the name of our freedom, both past and present," said Lawler. "As Soldiers and citizens of a free nation, we owe our comrades a debt we can never fully repay.
"To those of us who wear this uniform or have worn this uniform, Memorial Day is much more than just a day off," Lawler continued. "While it may not be the most important national day of patriotic observance, it is certainly a day to be set aside to solemnly remember and pay tribute to those Americans who have willingly made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a day to stop and reflect on the sacrifices made by generations of American Soldiers -- to remember the significance of what they did so willingly so that we and hundreds of millions of people all throughout the world may live in peace and freedom."
Lawler also recognized the role family members play in the day:
"The sacrifices made by our great families cannot be measured but will always be honored."
After the ceremony, the Soldiers dispersed, some to reflect on the monument. Capt. William Pyant, who attended the ceremony with his wife Jayana and baby Janelle, thought well of the ceremony.
"I thought it was beautiful," he said. "It was definitely appropriate. I was in Afghanistan when that all happened. They are our heroes, so I really appreciate this type of ceremony and that the community came together."