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Hudson Valley Soldier Among Victims In Triple-Fatal Upstate NY Helicopter Crash

Chief Warrant Officer Two Daniel Prial
Chief Warrant Officer Two Daniel Prial Photo Credit: New York National Guard

One of three New York Army National Guard soldiers killed in a helicopter crash this week was a Hudson Valley native.

Chief Warrant Officer Two Daniel Prial, age 30, of Warwick in Orange County, was killed on Wednesday, Jan. 20, when the UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport crashed in the Town of Mendon, which is about 17 miles south of Rochester, while on a routine training mission, killing all three pilots who were on board, said Colonel Richard Goldenberg the New York National Guard Public Affairs Officer.

Prial, a graduate of Warwick High School, 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 Fort Rucker, Alabama, where the Army trains helicopter pilots.

Piral attained the rank of captain before accepting an appointment as a warrant officer in the New York Army National Guard so he could continue to fly, Goldenberg said.

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

His awards include the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal, and the Army Aviator Badge.

"Prial was extremely humble and family-centric," Goldenberg said. "He had an ability to fit in quickly and make an immediate impact on new groups, according to Soldiers in his unit."

He was single and lived in Rochester. His father, Greg Prial, is a retired New York City firefighter.

Friends say Piral decided on Sept. 11, he wanted to go to West Point, a dream later realized when he was appointed to the Academy by then U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. John Hall.

Also killed in the crash was Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch. 

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation, Goldenberg said.

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