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Published: Thursday, 5/2/2013

Monroe to honor local man killed in Afghan air crash

Brokaw Brokaw

The Monroe County commissioners will honor Monroe resident Jamie L. Brokaw, 33, who was one of the crew members on a cargo aircraft that crashed Monday in Afghanistan, according to Commissioner Jason Turner.

Mr. Turner, whose 5th District includes where Mr. Brokaw lived, with his wife, Elizabeth, and stepdaughter, said he did not know Mr. Brokaw personally because he had moved to Monroe County relatively recently. He said Mr. Brokaw was a veteran of six years in the Air Force.

“From everything that I can gather, he seemed to be a great human being and someone who was willing to help anybody out,” Mr. Turner said. He said he intends to ask the family, after allowing them time to mourn, to participate in an event honoring Mr. Brokaw.

“We're going to do something at the county board of commissioners where we’re going to recognize Jamie and his service to our country. It’s just a tragedy and it's a huge loss for our community” Mr. Turner said. The commissioners’ next meeting is Tuesday.

Mr. Brokaw owned a flight school at 3029 North Custer Road, which he registered as a business in October, 2011.

A close friend, Chris Connerton, said Mr. Brokaw was an experienced navigator who was no stranger to dangerous flying situations and had the skills to stay cool in the face of danger.

“He was a very good person and very smart person,” Mr. Connerton said by telephone from Rochester, Minn.

Mr. Brokaw was among seven Americans killed Monday when their National Air Cargo plane crashed near an Air Force base in Afghanistan.

Six of the victims were from Michigan and a seventh was from Kentucky, said Shirley Kaufman, National Air Cargo vice president.

Mr. Connerton said Mr. Brokaw was a key reason he was able to make it through flight school in Jacksonville, Fla., and that he got them safely through a harrowing flight two years ago from Toledo to an international flight exposition in Lakeland, Fla., when ice had built up on the plane.

“If it wasn’t for Jamie’s navigation and know-how ... we wouldn’t have made it,” Mr. Connerton said.

Killed along with Mr. Brokaw in the crash in Afghanistan were Gary Stockdale, 51; pilots Brad Hasler, 34, of Trenton, Mich., and Jeremy Lipka, 37, of Brooklyn, Mich.; first officer Rinku Summan, 32, of Canton, Mich.; loadmaster Michael Sheets, 36, of Ypsilanti, Mich., and maintenance crewman Timothy Garrett, 51, of Louisville.

The Dubai-bound Boeing 747-400 — operated by National Air Cargo — crashed just after takeoff Monday from Bagram Air Base about 11:20 a.m. local time, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.

National Airlines was based until recently at Michigan’s Willow Run Airport, west of Detroit. It carries cargo both commercially and for the military, Ms. Kaufman said. She said the company employs about 225 people.

Staff writer Tom Troy contributed to this report.

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