By Capt. Michael Barranti (USAREUR)November 8, 2012
KATTERBACH ARMY AIRFIELD, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe's 12th Combat Aviation Brigade honored late Chief Warrant Officer 5 John C. Pratt in a Nov. 2 ceremony renaming the brigade headquarters building here for CWO5 Pratt.
Pratt's wife, Nicola, and daughter, Emma, attended the event along with acting USAREUR commander Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer and Lord Mayor Heinrich Forster of Illesheim, Germany.
A native of Springfield, Va., CWO5 Pratt had been a helicopter pilot for nearly 30 years and was the brigade's first senior warrant officer. CWO5 Pratt served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was killed in action along with his co-pilot, Capt. John Brainard, when their AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter was shot down near Kabul, Afghanistan, May 28. He was buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., June 21.
The honor is actually the second dedication to the late pilot. Recently a camp in the Balkh Province of north-central Afghanistan was named Camp John Pratt.
The American and German flags were flown at half-staff here the morning prior to the ceremony attended by hundreds of Soldiers and community members.
12th CAB commander Col. Jay Voorhees delivered the keynote remarks at the ceremony, honoring Pratt's memory while reminding the audience that Soldiers of the "Griffin" brigade are still deployed.
"At this very moment, we have 12th CAB air crews flying combat missions. And one of the reasons they continue to operate at the highest level is because of John Pratt and the way he went to great lengths to make sure that all of our Soldiers were trained and ready to execute the very missions they are flying as we [are] here today," said Voorhees.
"John's enduring legacy lives, and will forever live through all Griffin Soldiers and all Army Aviation Soldiers every time they jump into a helicopter. We are prepared to meet mission requirements because of John Pratt's efforts in training all, and our thoughts and our prayers are with all Griffins spread throughout Kuwait, Germany and Afghanistan," Voorhees said.
While at 12th CAB Pratt occupied a new position in its command group -- brigade senior warrant officer -- serving as the Voorhees's advisor and representative of the unit's warrant officers.
"John is very much still here in the hearts and minds of his friends and colleagues. The dedication of this building, especially this building which Emma and I visited so much, will mean that he will be remembered for so much longer," said Nicola Pratt.
"He always described himself as a 'back-of-the-bus kind of guy'. And now he's got a camp in Afghanistan, this building and a dedication plaque, when all he ever really wanted was the parking spot," she said.
Pratt's wife and daughter joined Voorhees to unveil a plaque on the building honoring CWO5 Pratt followed by brigade executive officer Lt. Col. John Broam presenting Emma Pratt with a key to "Daddy's building."