June 19, 2018
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Newport Army pilot’s casket arrives in Bangor on Thursday morning

Facebook photo | BDN
Facebook photo | BDN
U.S. Army Capt. John "Jay" R. Brainard III with his wife, Emily, in Baxter State Park in 2009. Capt. Brainard, an Army helicopter pilot from Newport, was killed Monday, May 28, in Afghanistan.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Capt. John “Jay” Brainard III of Newport will make his final trip home Thursday morning when his remains arrive at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Bangor International Airport.

Brainard died on Memorial Day when the Apache helicopter he was piloting went down while on patrol in Afghanistan. His funeral is Saturday.

His casket is scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m. Thursday in Bangor and, after plane-side honors, will be taken by motorcade to Newport.

Maine State Police will lead the procession, which also will include members of the Maine Patriot Guard Riders. The procession will make its way down Hammond Street to the southbound ramp of Interstate 95 and will take Exit 157 in Newport.

Brainard’s wake is 4-7 p.m. Friday at the Crosby & Neal Funeral Home, 117 Main St. in Newport, and his military funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, 64 Free St. in Dexter. He will be buried at Sawyer Cemetery in Plymouth.

Maine Patriot Guard Riders also will escort Brainard’s casket from the funeral home to the church and from the church to the cemetery, said Mike Edgecomb, the group’s state captain and a U.S. Navy veteran.

“We do it to show the family they’re not alone — we mourn with them — and to show the fallen officer respect,” he said.

Veterans from as far away as Massachusetts and New Hampshire plan to ride as part of Saturday’s services, Edgecomb said.

“We should have a real big turnout,” he said.

Brainard, 26, was a 2004 graduate of Foxcroft Academy and a 2008 graduate of the University of Maine, where he earned the rank of U.S. Army lieutenant through the ROTC program.

Brainard was born in Waterville to John and Susan (Bresnahan) Brainard but lived with his maternal aunt and uncle Donald and Nancy White starting at the age of 11, Capt. Shanon Cotta, spokesman for the Maine Army National Guard, has said.

He was an active-duty helicopter pilot with Headquarters Company of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, based in Katterbach, Germany, and deployed with the unit to Afghanistan on April 30.

Last week, soldiers in his unit held a Task Force Gunslinger Memorial Service for Brainard and Chief Warrant Officer Five John C. Pratt, 51, of Springfield, Va., who also died in the helicopter crash. A second memorial service was held in their honor in Germany for their brothers-in-arms and family members. Both services were captured in photos and posted on Facebook.

Brainard’s wife, Emily, and both of his parents will be presented with the military medals he earned by Brig. Gen. Michael Bills at the end of the wake. Those include the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal and a NATO Medal.

Command Sgt. Maj. Terrence Harris of the Maine National Guard also will present the three family members with the Maine Silver Star Honorable Service Medal and the Maine State Flag.

Brainard will be buried with full military honors, which will include a gun salute, honorary casket flag folding and the playing of taps.

At the end of the burial ceremony, the flag that draped Brainard’s casket will be presented to his wife and the Maine Select Honor Guard also will present Bills with three additional flags to give to Brainard’s mother, father and aunt.

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