Services to be held Friday for 3 soldiers killed in Mendon helicopter crash |

Services to be held Friday for 3 soldiers killed in Mendon helicopter crash

Services to be held Friday for 3 soldiers killed in Mendon helicopter crash Photo: News10NBC.

Updated: January 29, 2021 06:30 PM
Created: January 29, 2021 08:13 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)—  Two of the three National Guard members killed in a helicopter crash in Mendon will be laid to rest Friday. 

Chief Warrant Officers Christian Koch, Steven Skoda, and Daniel Prial were all killed when their helicopter crashed during a routine training exercise on Jan. 20.

Loved ones and friends will say goodbye to Koch in a private service in Livingston County. Koch grew up in the nearby community of York.

Under cloudy skies and flurries in the air, chief warrant officer Christian Koch's casket was loaded into a hearse at the John W. Martin Funeral Home in Mount Morris. Minutes later, a caravan of vehicles followed the hearse in a procession down Main Street under the American flag.

Some people lined the streets with flags of their own. Lester Schubmehl says he knew Koch back when they were teens.

"It's heartbreaking," Schubmehl said. "It's terrible. Someone I knew from just a couple years in high school, and it's very painful right now."

Joel Mike shared his thoughts as the procession drove by.

"Even though some of us didn't know him personally we all sort of related to him, what he did for our country, and his patriotism, and that sort of thing," Mike said.

The procession then proceeded on Route 63, headed for Geneseo, where family and close friends gathered at the national warplane museum for the funeral service.

"Tt's just tragic," Mike said. "A young life. A great family man."

A flyover tribute was scheduled for Koch's funeral service but was canceled due to the cloudy weather conditions. People said they were just happy enough to pay their last respects and thank the soldiers for their service.

"I thought all the selfless service he gave us, that it was the right thing for me to do," Mike said.

A public memorial service for Koch will be held sometime in the future when coronavirus restrictions allow. 

You can view both portions of the procession in the browsers below.



Services will be held for  Skoda in his hometown of Johnston, New York, followed by a family-only service, which will be available by live stream. A visitation for Prial will be held Friday in his hometown of Warrick, Orange County, before his funeral service Saturday, which will also be live-streamed. Prial will be buried at West Point Cemetery. He was honored in his hometown on Thursday.

All three guardsmen were honored with special processions this week, as Skoda and Prial were taken up to Fort Drum in Watertown, and Koch was taken to Mount Morris.

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