Mendon Honors Daniel Prial, One of Three New York State Army National Guard Pilots Who Died in a Chopper Crash in January 2021
Mendon has dedicated a military memorial in honor of three Army National Guard members who perished when their helicopter crashed near West Bloomfield Road on January 19, 2021. Chief Warrant Officer Christian Koch, Steven Skoda and Daniel Prial all resided aboard a Blackhawk UH-60 MEDEVAC helicopter with radio callsign DUSTOFF when their lives were taken.
Achievement and Honors
He enlisted in the Army at West Point and later served as medical evacuation platoon leader before being deployed twice to Afghanistan during active service. Additionally, he taught helicopter piloting students at Fort Rucker, Alabama – home of Army helicopter training facilities. Terence Prial of Warwick is his brother; Greg Prial competed in cross country and track in high school, winning Orange County outdoor titles in both events – in particular winning Orange County outdoor title in steeplechase competition – before turning out as an instructor pilot himself at Fort Rucker Alabama where the Army trains its helicopter pilots. Greg Prial of Warwick is his son; brother Terence joined his Army career early as well.
At West Point, each cadet selects a stone with special significance for their class ring; Daniel selected an old piece of World Trade Center rubble as his stone.
Warwick residents honor Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Prial with over 160 American flags draped from their street leading up to their home, in memory of one of three New York Army National Guard helicopter pilots killed during training accident in Mendon. Daniel’s father, Greg Prial, credits 9/11 as being an event that ignited his son’s passions.
He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and became a helicopter pilot, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan for 2014-15 before transitioning into National Guard duty.
He cherishedd his hometown and dedicated himself to supporting local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, he enjoyed fellowship through sports or sharing a beer or two with his peers.