Steven Skoda Biography — Wiki
Steven Skoda was one of the three members named by the National Guard killed this week when their helicopter crashed in an upstate New York field during a training exercise. All three were experienced pilots with past deployments to Afghanistan, officials said Friday.
“He noticed people — Who they were, and what they needed,” said Barbara Skoda, of Johnstown, Fulton County, Skoda’s mother.
“(Skoda) was a friend and mentor to all the soldiers in his unit, supporting the training and career progressions of hundreds of aircrews throughout his career, according to soldiers at the flight facility,” read a statement released Friday by the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs. “These soldiers were a part of our National Guard family and we mourn their loss, alongside their family members and loved ones.”
Steven Skoda Age
Steven Skoda, of Rochester, was 54 years old at the time of death.
Everything You Need To Know About Steven Skoda
Skoda was a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Army and New York Army National Guard. He deployed to Afghanistan twice in the past decade and was an experienced helicopter pilot and instructor, having started flying UH-1 helicopters from Rochester’s Army Aviation Support Facility in 1992.
He worked as a full-time National Guard technician at the facility and served as a member of C Company of the 171st General Support Aviation Battalion.
Steven Skoda Early Life
Skoda grew up in Johnstown and knew he wanted to learn to fly at a young age, said Barbara Skoda. His extended family also has a long history of military service, dating back to the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, she said.
He joined the U.S. Army right after high school and spent two years in Alaska. He later joined the National Guard because “he could sign up to be a pilot,” she said. He eventually settled in Rochester but would keep in touch with his mom via phone.
New York Helicopter Crash: What we know so far
Between them, the three servicemen had won a long list of awards, including the Meritorious Service and NATO medals, Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation and Army Commendation, Army Achievement, Global War on Terrorism Service and National Defense Service medals.
They died after the UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter they were traveling crashed in a farmer’s field near Mendon, south of Rochester, around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. There were no survivors.
The group had been conducted a routine training mission on night vision goggle proficiency training at the time of the accident.
It had flown out of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport and was assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, Durr said. Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said at a news conference Wednesday that witnesses who called 911 reported hearing the sounds of an engine sputtering and said the aircraft was flying very low.
The bodies of the victims were moved to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office in Brighton on Thursday.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also ordered for flags on state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the troops on Thursday. An Army Safety Investigation team arrived at the site Thursday from Fort Rucker in Alabama as the investigation into the crash continues.
As of Friday morning, the road along the crash site remains closed.
The FAA is also assisting with the probe.