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Millbury soldier, 19, is killed in crash

WORCESTER -- A 19-year-old Millbury man was among 10 soldiers killed when their helicopter crashed during combat operations in eastern Afghanistan last week, the Army announced yesterday.

Private First Class Brian M. Moquin Jr. died Friday in the remote mountains of Kunar Province after the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter crashed while on a mission to find Al Qaeda and Taliban militants believed to be hiding near the Pakistan border.

Army officials said the helicopter was conducting operations on a mountaintop landing zone when it plunged into a ravine. All 10 soldiers aboard the helicopter were killed.

Military officials said the helicopter was not downed by hostile fire. An investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing, Julie Curren, a spokeswoman for the Army, said yesterday.

Moquin's mother, Tracy Vaillancourt, said she was in Chicago on a business trip Sunday when an Army officer called her on her cellular phone and told her of the death of Moquin, her only child.

''He was too young," Vaillancourt told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. ''He just wanted to do something to make everybody proud. I'm very proud of him."

Vaillancourt said that from a young age, her son had expressed interest in joining the military. Moquin enlisted in the Army in March 2005 and attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky.

He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in August and went to Afghanistan in February.

Moquin had received numerous military awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.

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