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The Department of Defense has released the names of the two soldiers killed Monday in a helicopter crash near Kabul, Afghanistan.

Capt. John R. Brainard, 26, of Newport, Maine, and Chief Warrant Officer 5 John C. Pratt, 51, of Springfield, Va., were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, based in Ansbach-Katterbach, Germany, according to a 12th CAB news release.

Their AH-64D Longbow Apache went down in Wardak province, just west of Kabul, the release said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The pilots were conducting routine combat operations, according to the unit.

U.S. Army Europe’s combat aviation brigade cased its colors April 20 in Katterbach, in preparation for its deployment to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Brigade commander Col. Van J. Voorhees Jr. told attendees at the ceremony that the brigade would serve a 10-month tour in Regional Command-North in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and in Kuwait as part of Operation Spartan Shield.

The 12th CAB flies Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters for support, reconnaissance and assault missions.

According to information provided by the unit, Brainard was the brigade adjutant and was on his first combat tour in his four years of service. He is survived by his wife, Emily, and his parents, John Brainard and Susie Phelps of Newport, Maine.

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. He is survived by his wife, Nicola, their daughter Emma, and his parents, John D. and Josephine Pratt, of Springfield, Va.

Staff reports

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