NASHVILLE (WSMV) - A Marine from Nashville was one of the two pilots killed in a helicopter crash during a training course in Arizona on Saturday.

Captain Travis W. Brannon

Capt. Travis W. Brannon was killed in the training exercise.

Military officials identified 30-year-old Capt. Travis W. Brannon as one of the victims.

Brannon was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Kaneohe Bay, HI.

His previous duty stations included the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Air Station in Kaneohe Bay.

During his military career, Brannon received the Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Brannon graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy back in 2007. He was an exceptional student and athlete.

MBA headmaster, Bradford Gioia has a strong connection to Brannon's family. He says Travis had a remarkable strength of character, and was always willing to help others.

“He was the kind of person who exhibited a goodness, an earnestness, an authenticity, a desire really to be one's better self,” said Gioia. “I knew (Travis) when he was a student here, and he was my neighbor across the street when I first moved to Nashville in 1994.”

Brannon played lacrosse at MBA, winning a state championship his junior year.

“Travis was that kind of person who always put his friends first, and his team first,” Gioia recalls.

Brannon spent summers as a lifeguard at Hillwood Country Club. Staff members at Hillwood said they knew him and are devastated.

After high school, Brannon graduated from the University of the South in Sewanee, where he continued to play lacrosse.

“All of us here, will forever remember that kind of spirit of putting others first, putting things bigger than himself first, obviously a mantra and ideal of the Marines,” Gioia said.

In June of 2012, Brannon joined the United States Marine Corps.

Gioia says he received a text from Brannon’s father letting him know Travis died in the training crash.

“I think people will remember the goodness of who Travis was, and that will shine above the sadness and loss of last Saturday.

Brannon leaves behind a wife and child. Brannon's father, also named Travis, was a naval officer. Brannon’s family wants time to grieve.

Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, of Ambler, PA, was also killed in the crash.

"It is a somber day for the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command as we mourn this tremendous loss. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time," said Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr., a commanding general at the base in Twentynine Palms, CA, in a news release.

Officials said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Multimedia Producer

Kara is an Emmy Award-winning digital producer. She is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of the University of South Carolina. She previously worked at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Ga., before moving to Nashville five years ago to work at WSMV-TV.


Edward Burch joined News4 at a reporter in December 2016. Edward currently covers growth stories in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

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