Jamie Lee Brokaw, 33, died in an airplane accident at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, while operating a Boeing 747-400 owned by National Air Cargo on a
civilian commercial flight. Jamie’s interest in aviation began as a baby where flying was a way of life. He was inspired by his grandfather, Sgt.
Joseph Brokaw, a B-17 Flying Fortress gunner in WW II and his father, Terry Brokaw also a General Aviation and commercial pilot. Jamie’s father and
brother, Randy, all worked on planes together and eventually flew together at National Airlines where they were all employed. Jamie and his father
or brother would meet up for lunch in Belgium or dinner in Dubai as their flight paths crossed.
Jamie, born and raised in Three Rivers, played clarinet and saxophone in Three Rivers High School Band and graduated from TRHS in 1998. Jamie enlisted in the United States Air Force in January of 2002 and deployed multiple times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was stationed at Dyess Air Force base, assigned to Air Combat Command’s, Twelfth Air Force, 7th Bomb Wing, 7th Maintenance Group, 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron where Jamie was recognized for his work on the B-1 Lancer bomber as an Integrated Avionics Systems Craftsman for Instruments and Flight Controls. This unit shared the same historical origins as the unit in which Jamie’s grandfather served in WWII. Jamie served in the Air Force for six years before separating as a Staff Sergeant.
Always striving to advance his aviation career, Jamie began his flight training in Spring 2008, completing his training in Fall of 2008 and took his first job in commercial aviation with Murray Air (now National) as a Flight Engineer on a DC-8, in 2009. In 2010, Jamie upgraded to First Officer Officer flying “right seat” in a DC-8. In May 2012, Jamie was trained to fly the 747 cargo aircraft with National Airlines.
Jamie earned his private pilot’s license, instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, multi-engine rating, Certified Flight Instructor for single and multi-engine aircraft, ground instructor and A&P mechanic, and holds a motorboat operator’s permit. He rode motorcycles and taught motorcycle safety while in the Air Force. At the time of his final flight, Jamie was a First Officer for National Airlines and a member of the Civil Air Patrol.
Jamie’s quest for adventure took him all over the world, by air, land and sea. At the age of 15, Jamie took off to see the world, and found himself in Chicken, Alaska. Jamie spent two summers in Chicken, working, flying and living the Alaskan dream of life in a frontier town along with his cousin and friend, Nate Lett. In keeping with his love for the open road, he even drove his motorcycle to Alaska from Michigan in 2001. Jamie’s brothers and cousin were some of his closest friends. They shared military and flying adventures and made fun times out of just about everything.
In 2009, Jamie met Elizabeth Thoma, originally of Monroe, Michigan. Elizabeth and her 9 year old daughter, Chloe, shared Jamie’s adventuresome spirit and love of the sky. Jamie and Elizabeth married on May 12, 2012 at the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in front of a B-52 Bomber. They moved to Monroe near the south end of Custer Airport, where the entire family enjoyed watching and listening to airplanes flying overhead.
Due to the value Jamie placed on education and his love for Chloe as a step-daughter, a fund has been established for Chloe’s college education. The Brokaw/Thoma family is asking that in lieu of flowers, friends consider giving to this education fund. Information can be found at www.jamieloveschloe.com
In addition to his wife, Elizabeth (Thoma) Brokaw and step-daughter, Chloe Hunter, Jamie is survived by his parents Susan and Terry Brokaw of Three Rivers, Michigan and his brothers Randy and Corey Brokaw of Kalamazoo. He also leaves behind a tight-knit group of relatives, cousins, friends, fellow pilots, airplane co-owners, air force buddies and his ever dedicated canine co-pilot, Buster.
Jamie was honored by a letter from the Commander, USAF Central, Al Udeid air Base, Qatar in May.
A recent letter has been received honoring Jamie from Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, to his wife, Elizabeth.
A gathering of friends, family, co-workers and kindred spirits is slated for after the EAA air show on Thursday, August 1 to remember and honor flight crew members of NCR 102 who have “gone west”. Food and drinks will be provided to support the families.
Drop by the NCR102 campsite during the EAA AirVenture 2013 week to share stories, say hi, etc. The campsite is in Paul’s Park, Northeast corner near parking lot F and Knapp St. See map at www.NCR102.org.
Let’s show our support for the 7 crew members and their families that died supporting our troops in Afghanistan. Charitable memorabilia will be available as well. All of the proceeds will go to support the families of NCR Flight 102.
Chuck Drake friend of mechanic Tim Garrett
Terry Brokaw, EAA #3144, Chapter 221 member and Technical Counselor, father of First Officer, Jamie Brokaw, on flight NCR102 is hosting the event.
The campsite for the NCR 102 memorial gathering is provided by EAA AirVenture.
Aimee Robbins-Mastny, owner of LA’s Coffee Café, Three Rivers, is organizing an event celebrating Jamie Brokaw’s life for his many friends and family in the local area. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 17 at the home where he was raised, Terry & Susie Brokaw’s home, 17021 Cotherman Lake Rd in Three Rivers, MI. The home is on a private airstrip where Brokaw flew the family aircraft, a 1956 Cessna 172, whenever he visited.
The event will begin at 4:00 pm. At 5:13 pm, reflections of Brokaw’s life, video tribute, and a military salute will take place. Guests can share their stories of Brokaw at this special tribute.
Refreshments, airplane rides (weather permitting), tree planting ceremony, sky lantern tribute to the 7 crew members and a bonfire are planned.
Friends and acquaintances are welcome.
Event information is posted here.
A memorial fund has been set up for the families of the crash victims at NCR102.org. A scholarship fund has been arranged for the daughter of Brokaw's wife, Elizabeth at www.jamieloveschloe.com
Make check payable to Chloe Hunter
Mail to Chloe Hunter c/o Terry Brokaw
17021 Cotherman Lake Rd, Three Rivers MI 49093