Members of the New York Army National Guard will host a memorial service today to honor the three soldiers killed in the crash of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on Jan. 20. The ceremony, which is not open to the public, is planned for the National Guard’s flight facility in Rochester.
Army Aviation Support Facility -2, 42 Patriot Way, is where two of the three pilots worked full-time and where unit soldiers spend a majority of their time, conducting aircraft maintenance, training and flight operations.
Livingston County native Christian Koch, 39, was one of three guardsmen killed in the Jan. 20 crash. He was a Chief Warrant Officer 4 and a resident of Honeoye Falls at the time of his death, though he previously lived in Avon and York and graduated from York Central Schools in 1999. Also killed were Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda, 54, of Rochester, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial, 30, of Rochester.
The UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter the three men were piloting was on a routine training mission when it crashed about 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in a field along West Bloomfield Road near Cheese Factory Road in Mendon. The unit trains to perform aeromedical evacuation and the crew had been conducting night vision goggle proficiency training in the local area.
An investigation into the crash is continuing.
Funeral services for all three soldiers took place near their hometowns the week following the crash.
Four hundred people, including soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, along with families of Chief Warrant Officers Steven Skoda, Christian Koch and Daniel Prial, military commanders, selected first responders and guests are expected to attend.
Speakers include Col. Michael Charnley, the brigade commander; Lt. Col. Shawn Hatch, the battalion commander; and Maj. Martin Voley, the commander of Charlie Company 1-171st Aviation.
The ceremony will include personal reflections on the service of the three pilots, scripture readings from Chaplain (Maj.) Anthony Stevens, chaplain for the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and a silent roll call to commemorate the loss of the three soldiers.