WORCESTER, MA, USA U.S. Army PFC, TROOP A, 3D SQUADRON, 71ST CAVALRY, 3 BCT, (TF SPARTAN), FORT DRUM, NY KUNAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN 05/05/2006
Nineteen-year-old Private First Class Brian Moquin of Worcester, Massachusetts, was the youngest soldier killed on May 5, 2006 when the Chinook helicopter in which he rode crashed into a ravine east of Abad, Afghanistan, in the Kunar province. The crash also took the lives of Specialists David N. Timmons Jr. and Justin L. O’Donohoe, Sergeants Jeffery S. Wiekamp, John C. Griffith, and Bryan A. Brewster, Staff Sergeant Christopher T. Howick, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty.
At his mass outside of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Brian’s friends huddled to share stories and comfort. Tasha Bara said: “I remember in the summers, going on the boat and tubing, and having the tubes flip me over because he would always push me. He was a good kid. He had a good personality. He always made you smile, no matter what.”
Patrick McGuire recalled that Brian joined the Army because it seemed like his only option at the time. “Rent was due. He had no money to pay for it. He really didn’t have any place to go. So he decided that was the best place. He thought it was respectable, and died doing something that he thought was good.”
During the mass, PFC Moquin’s mother, Tracy Valencourt, was too shaken to speak. Valencourt asked her fiancé, Peter Bissonet, to read something she’d written about her fearless toddler, who grew up to be a teenager, defying gravity on his skateboard. “One day, he brought his bureau from his room outside and made a ramp out of it, walked to the top of our very steep driveway, then down the driveway and over the bureau he went. He had no fear. But the bravest choice of all was when he decided to join the Army and fight for the freedom of our country.
He was determined. And I am proud of him.”
Mr. Bissonet is a Worcester police officer who was Brian. “Every day I wake up and step out my door, I’m going to strive to be as brave as Brian,” he said. “He was the real deal.”
Brian was a guitarist and vocalist in a band called, Coordinates: Cartesia. Their music is posted on the Internet. The remaining members of that group and a half dozen other bands planned to conduct a memorial concert for Brian.
PFC Moquin enlisted in the Army in March 2005 and attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was assigned to the 71st Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York in August 2005 and deployed to Afghanistan in February 2006.
His military awards included the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal and Combat Action Badge.