NY National Guard Releases Names Of Soldiers Killed In Helicopter Crash | WAMC

NY National Guard Releases Names Of Soldiers Killed In Helicopter Crash

Jan 22, 2021

The NY National Guard has released the names of the soldiers killed in Wednesday’s crash of a Blackhawk UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter near Rochester.

The crash happened early Wednesday evening, and at the time, people living in the area called 911 about reports of a low flying aircraft that sounded like it was having engine problems. The helicopter crashed into an open field in Mendon.

Officials with the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs say that an Army Safety Investigation team arrived Thursday from the Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama to begin analysis of the accident. Officials say the team will investigate the potential human, materiel and environmental factors that may have been involved in the accident.

Killed in the crash were Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial.

Skoda was a Rochester resident. He was a 35-year veteran of the Army and the New York Army National Guard. He was 54 years old and was a veteran of the Afghanistan War who deployed there in 2013 and 2019.

He is described as having been an experienced helicopter pilot who served as a UH-60 senior instructor pilot and an instrument flight instructor and a UH-60 maintenance test pilot. He had almost 5,000 flying hours.

He worked as a full-time National Guard technician at the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Rochester International Airport, as well as serving as a member of C Company of the 171st General Support Aviation Battalion.

Christian Koch was a 20-year veteran of the New York Army National Guard.

He became a helicopter pilot in 2006, flying from the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport. He was 39 years old and a resident of Honeoye Falls.

Koch was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq.

Daniel Prial, a 30 year old Rochester resident, had served in the Army since 2012 after earning a commission at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

He served as a medical evacuation platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division's 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015 with the 82nd Airborne Division and served as an instructor pilot for students at the Fort Rucker, Alabama, where the Army trains helicopter pilots.

He was working as a federal technician at the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Rochester International Airport.

This story was originally published by WXXI.