CrimeMonroe County

3 Soldiers Killed in Mendon Helicopter Crash Remembered at Private Memorial

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The 642nd Aviation Support Battalion hosted a memorial Friday for the men who died in a helicopter crash last month.
A National Guard hanger was transformed into a memorial hall Friday, as military personnel and the community honored the memories of Chief Warrant Officers Steven Skoda, Christian Koch, and Daniel Prial.
“An event of this magnitude in a hanger they called home is, I think, extremely important,” Major Voley Martin, the Charlie Company commander, said. “To one, show the families how much they meant to us, but also show they’re not alone in this time of grieving.”
The three National Guardsman died last month when their helicopter crashed in Mendon.
“They always had a positive impact on everyone around them, just very happy guys, very good at their job,” Colonel Michael Charnley, the Brigade commander, said. “And it’s just sad that they’re gone, but we’re doing this to remember the best of them and just try to carry that forward.”
The three men were remembered by their fellow soldiers with emotional tributes.
Family and other first responders were in attendance, like the Mendon Fire Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
“Everybody comes out. When one hurts, we all hurt. And that’s what the American flag is all about, you know indivisible. And again, a celebration of what these guys stood for,” Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said.
The event closed with a volley, before military officers and family came up to render honors.
“You almost don’t imagine it would ever happen in your unit, it did happen, but it’s important we gather everyone together and pay the proper respect to them, honor them and remember their positive legacy that they had on everyone,” Charnley said.

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