ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In January 2021, a Black Hawk crash claimed the lives of three soldiers from our region: Chief Warrant Officers Steven Skoda, Christian Koch, and Daniel Prial.
In the latest crash, the Army Times reported two Black Hawks went down last week in Georgia. The Army is claiming it’s not an accident and it is under criminal investigation.
The crash in Mendon in January 2021 was eventually reported by the Army to be a ‘procedural error’. At the time, Col. Richard Goldenberg with the New York National Guard said the cause of the crash was not a maintenance issue, but a “procedural error during an emergency training maneuver.”
He added that the U.S. Army then restricted practicing that specific emergency procedure, whatever it was, to flight simulators only.
In February 2021, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called to ground all Black Hawks claiming there is something in the aircraft, either mechanical or training-wise, that needs to be investigated.
She said at the time, “I believe that if I raise this in the Armed Services Committee, there will be other senators who want a full investigation.”
Wednesday, News 8 asked Sen. Gillibrand about these now five total crashes of U.S. military aircraft and if she’s renewing calls to ground the helicopters.
“I am calling for an investigation so that we can get to the bottom of what happened in these instances. It’s deeply concerning and we’ve lost several New Yorkers and it’s deeply deeply disturbing, and so we need to have a fuller investigation with some oversight and accountability.” said Sen. Gillibrand.
In all, 14 U.S. Soldiers have died as a result of these Black Hawk incidents in the past 15 months.