NEWPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The family of Army Captain John "Jay" Brainard is remembering him as a man who loved his family, the outdoors and the military. Brainard died earlier this week when the apache helicopter he was piloting crashed.
"He was the best brother anyone could ever ask for. He was the closest thing I had to a best friend," said Ben Hawthorne who is Brainard's brother.
Each picture that Ben sees of his brother "Jay" brings back another special memory that the two brothers shared.
"One of my greatest memories of my brother is when he went with me on my first airplane ride ever. It was in a De Havilland Beaver in Greenville. We went up there, my brother got to fly with me on my first airplane ride ever," Ben said.
Captain John "Jay" Brainard flew apache helicopters in the army.
On Memorial Day, Ben, got a call from his mom that he will never forget, telling him that his brother died.
"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. I still don't believe it. It's still not real. It's still not real," Ben said.
Ben said John, "Jay" loved his family very much, but he also loved the outdoors and going on adventures. So it came as no surprise that "Jay" joined the military, and it did not take him long to climb up the rankings.
"He was an apache helicopter pilot and he made the rank of captain shortly after going to his first base in Germany," Ben said.
Ben said he and his brother talked about living in Maine and growing old. Now he will have to do the living for the both of them, and remember the good times they shared while he was alive.
"I would tell my brother that I love him, and give him the biggest hug. I could honestly say I'd of given my life to just get one hug from my brother. Just to be able to tell him one more time I love him more than anything. Always have," Ben said.