The Washington Post

Air Force Capt. Brandon Cyr dies in plane crash in Afghanistan

Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28, an Air Force pilot who had hundreds of hours of combat flying experience, and listed Woodbridge as his home town, was killed Saturday in a plane crash in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

People who knew him recalled his sense of humor, his thoughtfulness and his dedication to a challenging job.

He was assigned to an air-refueling squadron based at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, where he was a pilot instructor for the KC-135 tanker. He had been in Afghanistan for three months when the crash occurred, according to Karen Petitt, a base spokeswoman.

In a statement, Col. Peter Nezamis, commander of the Illinois National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing, said, ‘‘It was this mission more than any other he wanted the most.” He said Cyr left his mark “on everything he did,” and praised his desire, energy and thirst for knowledge.

Col. David Almand, commander of Cyr’s parent unit, said Cyr had more than 1,700 flying hours, with 900 of them in combat.

According to the Pentagon, Cyr was one of four airmen who died near Kandahar Airfield in the crash of an MC-12. The two-engine turboprop airplane is flown primarily for medium- to low-altitude missions providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to ground forces.

The Pentagon said that the crash was under investigation but that initial reporting indicated no enemy activity in the area when the plane went down.

Although Woodbridge was listed as Cyr’s home town, he was a member of a military family and had lived in many places.

Among those responding Sunday to the news of his death was Liz Marshall, who said she was an aunt of Cyr’s. They had become friends on Facebook, Marshall said, and she enjoyed the cartoons he drew about his life and his activities in the Air Force.

A friend and the wife of a fellow pilot, told on her Web site about his humor. “He always had a way to make me laugh, no matter what else was going on,” she wrote. She met him at an Air Force wedding, at which she knew no one. She said Cyr “made sure that I didn’t feel left out.”

A Nevada man who met him through Air Force Junior ROTC training called him “an inspiration to us.”

Aaron Laughridge said Cyr volunteered his time to give a week of military summer training to ROTC members at Reno’s North Valleys High School. He offered his time, Laughridge said, for “something he loved to do.”

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