You may have heard in the news about the tragic National Guard helicopter crash last week in Upstate New York. The three military members on board were killed while conducting a routine training mission.
CW5 Steven Skoda, CW4 Christian Koch & CW2 Daniel Prial had a combined 6 combat deployments and more 60 years of service.— Rose L. Thayer (@Rose_Lori) January 22, 2021
“These soldiers were a part of our @NationalGuardNY family and we mourn their loss, alongside their family members and loved ones.”https://t.co/qLpF3MhNLN
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial were all pilots assigned to C Company of the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion based at the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport.
Daniel joined The 7 Line Army on the road in St. Louis ('17) , Atlanta ('18), and Cincinnati ('19).
After hearing the tragic news of Daniel Prial passing, we started going through old outing footage. Ends up @JohnO_Ricchio and @leximartone had a chat with Danny at @The7LineArmy pre-game in Cincinnati on 9/21/19. RIP. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/C7tSEE60fQ— The 7 Line (@The7Line) January 29, 2021
I didn't know Danny well, as we'd only crossed paths once a year at these outings, but I definitely remember hanging at the Hofbrauhaus before our walk over to Busch Stadium. I looked through some old e-mails last night and came across this from him:
"My name is Dan Prial, grew up in New York a die hard Mets fan, and living currently in Alabama. I'm going to the St. Louis outing, it will be my first experience with T7LA. I have an extra ticket. I'm not looking for any money or a refund, just want as many Mets fans there as possible, so just figured I'd let you guys know there's an extra ticket available, I'm sure we'd all hate to see it wasted. Thanks so much. - Dan"
From all I'm reading now online from his close family and friends, this short e-mail can tell you a lot about this man.
Per @thewanews Prial, youngest killed in helicopter crash, was inspired to go to West Point on 9/11. His father, a 30+ year @FDNY vet responded to the attacks. Prial asked him to bring something home. It was glass from a WTC window, which was put in Prial’s West Point Class Ring pic.twitter.com/PPvVllNPOW— Michael_Schwartz (@MSchwartzWHAM) January 22, 2021
"Danny was a passionate fan of New York sports, and he rode the (few) highs and (more frequent) lows of being a Mets and Jets fan. The Army-Navy game was always the sports highlight of Dan’s year and he was overjoyed by Army’s four wins against Navy in the past few years. Sports was one of the ways he formed so many friendships. He likely had more friendships than we will ever know, because of his outgoing personality and desire to connect with people: neighbors in his apartment building, strangers at the airport, and anyone on the golf course.
The genuine joy Dan felt from making friendships and spending time with his close friends fed his commitment as a soldier. Dan cherished fellowship, in the form of sports, sharing beers, or enduring challenges with his fellow soldiers. He connected with others so easily because he found value in the commonality of being American, and his time off and civilian experiences reminded him of why he sacrificed so much to serve in the Army." - Daniel Gregory Prial Obituary
A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, January 30 at 10 a.m., at St. Stephen’s Church. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, attendance in the church is by invitation only. The funeral Mass will also be livestreamed through the parish website at www.ststephenchurchwarwick.org. Audio from the funeral Mass will be broadcast outside the church for those who cannot be admitted inside but wish to be present. Those gathered outside are asked to socially distance, wear masks, and watch the Mass on muted personal devices.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Small Things Inc., a Warwick-based non-profit that shares kindness locally through community-supported giving. Donations can be sent to Small Things at 5 Linden Place, Warwick or online at https://www.smallthingsincgives.org/
Our hearts go out to the Prial, Skoda, and Koch families. Thank you so much for your service and the ultimate sacrifice. Rest in peace.