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'Our hearts are heavy' : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
'Our hearts are heavy'
Former Oswegoan among servicemen killed in Afghanistan cargo plane crash

by Tony Scott


An Air Force captain who grew up in Oswego was among those killed when his aircraft crashed in the Zabul province in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, according to the Air Force base where he was stationed.

Capt. Brandon Cyr, 28, a KC-135 instructor pilot, was among the four crewmembers killed when their MC-12 cargo plane crashed.

Cyr and the other crewmembers all had been deployed in support of NATO missions in the area, and initial reporting indicated there was no enemy activity in the area at the time, according to base officials. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Cyr's family resides in Oswego, according to the base, and Oswego School District officials confirmed that he attended Traughber Jr. High School for approximately a month in 1997. The child of a military family, Cyr graduated from a California high school, and attained a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from San Francisco State University, according to base officials.

He was commissioned into the Air Force in September 2006 following his graduation from the UC-Berkeley ROTC program, the base states.

This deployment was Cyr's fourth since being stationed at Scott Air Force Base near downstate Belleville, Ill., and his third time to Afghanistan. He had been flying in Afghanistan for three months when his plane went down, according to the base.

According to the base, Cyr was a member of the 906th Air Refueling Squadron within the 375th Air Mobility Wing, its parent unit for administrative purposes, and flew alongside members of the Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing as part of the Air Force's Total Force Integration efforts.

Col. David Almand, 375th AMW commander, said Cyr was "an outstanding pilot and a dedicated Airman."

"Our hearts are heavy, and we're doing all that we can to provide support and comfort to members of his family during this difficult time. Our hearts also go out to families of the other Airmen who lost their lives as well," Almand said.

At the time of his death, Cyr had earned more than 1,700 flying hours - 900 of those in combat - and had received five Air Medals and was awarded an Achievement Medal during his time on active duty, officials said.

Cyr recently served as an executive officer for Col. Peter Nezamis, Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing commander.

"Brandon left his personal and professional mark on everything he did," Nezamis said. "You could not have spent five minutes in a room with him and not be impressed with his energy, desire, and quest for knowledge. 'Service before self' wasn't a few words written in a book or on a poster; he lived it on and off the installation. Brandon volunteered for this assignment, and it was this mission more than any other he wanted the most. For professional soldiers, there will never be a more noble honor than to sacrifice all you have and all you are to passionately fight for the cause greater than you. I deeply share in our grief, but am proud to have known Brandon and all he stood for. I will miss him a lot."

The following Airmen were killed in the same crash:

Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii. He was assigned to the 427th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova, Calif. He was assigned to the 306th Intelligence Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, 30, of Morehead, Ky. He was assigned to the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

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