Two soldiers from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade who died earlier this year during a combat flight in Afghanistan now have buildings renamed in their honor as part of an effort by the Ansbach, Germany, military community to honor its own.
During a ceremony Friday, the Army hotel at Urlas Kaserne was renamed The Ansbach Army Lodge, Brainard Hall in honor of 26-year-old Capt. John Brainard, who was killed May 28 after his AH-64D Longbow Apache was shot down in Wardak province.
Also killed in the crash was Brainard’s co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 5 John C. Pratt, 51.Last week Pratt was honored during a similar 12th CAB ceremony when the brigade’s headquarters on Katterbach Kaserne was renamed Pratt Headquarters.
“The dedication of this building, especially this building, which Emma (Pratt’s daughter) and I visited so much, will mean that he will be remembered for so much longer,” said wife Nicola during last week’s ceremony, according to the 12th CAB public affairs office.
“He always described himself as a back-of-the-bus kind of guy,” she said. “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.”
On Friday, Brainard’s wife, Emily, also reflected on what it means to have a building named in honor of her husband.
“Naming this lodge after him is a perfect tribute in so many ways,” she said. “ ‘Jay’ and I spent a lot of time traveling throughout Europe and the States. Both of us believed that traveling allows you to learn not just a lot about other people and cultures but also about yourself. So I hope that everyone who stays here, whether they are arriving to or leaving Germany and are here for just a few days or a few years, will feel welcome. And that this place will be the start place for many exciting travels and journeys.”
Brainard, of Newport, Maine, and Pratt, of Springfield, Va., were part of the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company. They were killed during combat operations.
“All of us here today and all of our soldiers deployed throughout the world, as well as all of those who will enter this building in the future will forever know who ‘Jay’ Brainard was and what he represented,” said Col. Jay Voorhees, 12th CAB commander during Friday’s ceremony. “And what that is are qualities and character of the highest caliber. We should all feel honored that for a period in our life we had the privilege and honor to serve with and be associated with, either directly or indirectly, Capt. ‘Jay’ Brainard.”
The dedication plaque on the wall of Pratt Headquarters reads: “In memory of John Castle Pratt, CW5 US Army, 4 May 1961 – 28 May 2012. CW5 Pratt was renowned for his expertise and knowledge on helicopter operations. When John spoke, people listened.”
Brainard’s dedication plaque states: “In Memory of John Randall Brainard, Captain, US Army 1 September 1985-28 May 2012.”
Brainard, the brigade adjutant, was on his first combat tour in his four years of service, according to the brigade.
Pratt was the brigade senior warrant officer and standardization pilot. He had deployed three times and served in the Army for more than 20 years.