The son of Misty Esparza-Perham and Miguel Esparza, Zac grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He was born on September 26, 1986, and graduated from Bayless High School in 2005. After high school, he attended Southeast Missouri State and became a proud member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
At the age of 24, CW3 Zac Esparza enlisted in the Army from Jackson, Missouri in 2010. As part of his service, Zac completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC, and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, GA. Upon graduation, he served in Okinawa, Japan from 2011-2012 and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance from 2013-2014. He attended the Aviation Warrant Officer Basic Course in 2015 and graduated as a UH-60M pilot at Fort Rucker, AL. In 2017, he served as an Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade on Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii. He then served as a Pilot-in-Command in 2020 with Task Force Sinai in Egypt. In 2021, he was assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and has served as an Instructor Pilot since October 2021.
CW3 Esparza’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and the Army Aviator Badge. He was posthumously promoted to CW3 and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Zac loved Army life and all the opportunities it allowed him to have. He traveled to many countries around the world and created many meaningful friendships along the way. In 2021, Zac received his Private Pilot License and became the proud owner of a Cessna 172, and named his plane Pigwidgeon because he was a Harry Potter fan. He loved sharing his passion for aviation by flying his family and friends to destinations across the country. Zac was a St. Louis guy through and through, his perfect date would be eating Imo’s Pizza at a St. Louis Cardinals ballgame. Zac lived his life to the fullest while defending his country and traveling the world. He will be greatly missed by many.
Zachary is predeceased by his maternal grandparents Zona and Robert Overstreet, and his paternal grandfather Eleazar Esparza. He is survived by his parents Misty Esparza-Perham, Jace Perham, Miguel Esparza and Julia Esparza; siblings Zona Ho (twin), David Ho (BIL), Michael Esparza, Brittany Frazier (SIL), Carmen Esparza, Matilda Parmentier (SIL), Rebecca Esparza, Sarah Esparza, and Sophia Esparza; nieces and nephews Cameron Ho, Bryson Ho, Oliver Esparza, and Yemaya Fergusson-Esparza; and many other family members and friends.
Emilie was born on 20 December 1999, in The Philippines to Emilio and Eva Marie. SGT Bolanos enlisted in the Army from Austin, Texas, in 2019. She attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis, Virginia. She served as a UH-60 Helicopter Repairer and UH-60 Air Crewmember for the Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division from March of 2020. In 2020, she served for 9 months in Germany in support of ATLANTIC RESOLVE. She graduated from the Basic Leader Course in 2022.
SGT Bolanos’ awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Basic Aviation Badge. She was posthumously promoted to SGT and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
SGT Bolanos is survived by her father Emilio; her mother, Eva Marie; and her brothers Lester, Jobert, and Michael.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, on 20 February 1990, to Greg and Kathy Barnes; both of whom he loved very much. Jeffery was a thoughtful son, who was always thinking about his parents. He was a loving and charming husband, caring father, protective son, loyal brother, and friend. He was down to earth, funny, and had an infectious laugh. Jeffery was a devout Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints fan. He also loved dogs.
WO1 Barnes enlisted in the Army from Milton, Florida, in 2010. He attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He was subsequently assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade as a 15R, Attack Helicopter Repairer in Savannah, Georgia. In February 2015, he was assigned as a squad leader in the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Camp Humphreys, Korea. From 2016 through 2018, he served with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Carson, Colorado. In 2019, he served as an instructor at Fort Eustis, Virginia, before attending the Warrant Officer Basic Course in 2020. He served as an Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot for the Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division since October of 2022.
While assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, WO1 Barnes deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan. He graduated from Initial Entry Rotary Wing School UH-60M Track; Aviation Warrant Officer Basic Course; AH-64D Attack Helicopter Repair Course; Combat Life Saver Course; Basic Leader Course; CBRN Defense Course; Advanced Leader Course; Cadre Training; Common Faculty Development – Instructor Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Course (High Risk); and the Equal Opportunity Leaders Course.
WO1 Barnes’ awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Certificate of Achievement, Army Aviator Badge, Basic Army Instructor Badge, and the Driver and Mechanic Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
He is preceded in death by his son, Carson Allen Barnes.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his loving wife, Cynthia Reyes, and brother, Clayton Barnes.
Isaac John Gayo grew up in the Philippines. He loved computers and computer languages, eventually earning a B.S. in computer engineering at Mapúa Malayan Colleges Laguna.
In 2012, Isaac emigrated to Los Angeles, California, with his sister and father. At one point, he worked three jobs – at a local market, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Universal Studios – to support his family in the U.S. and in the Philippines.
Isaac was a cheerful, kind, supportive, and caring person who was always willing to help anyone in need. He loved to laugh, travel, try new foods, and have a good time with his family and friends. Isaac was especially close to his sister Margaritta, helping her achieve their joint dream of buying a house.
In 2019, Isaac decided to join the Army to realize his dream of becoming a pilot. He attended basic training in Fort Jackson,South Carolina, and then went through advanced individual training in Fort Eustis, Virginia.
Over time, he achieved the rank of Sergeant and served in the 101st Airborne Division as a maintenance chief. During his service, Isaac studied hard to get into flight school and was accepted.
Isaac also received several awards for his military service: the U.S. Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medaland the Overseas Service Ribbon.
Tragically, Isaac was one of nine soldiers killed on March 29, 2023, when two Black Hawk helicopters from his division crashed into each other. The fatal accident occurred during a nighttime training exercise near Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Isaac was enrolled as a master of arts in management student with a project management concentration. The University has awarded Isaac a posthumous degree.
CW3 Danny Randolph, 40, of Murfreesboro, TN, tragically lost his life February 15, 2023 in a UH-60 Blackhawk accident in Huntsville, AL.
Danny was born on 23 July 1982 in Hendersonville, TN to parents Chester and Patricia. He married his wife Melissa on 5 May 2017. He was father to 3 children and 3 step-children, Edmond, Laine, Kori, Barrett, Avery, and Everett.
Danny joined the Tennessee Army National Guard on 21 April 2009 as an Aviation Operations Specialist. Prior to becoming a Warrant Officer he served as an Air Traffic Controller while deployed in support of Operation Enduring in 2011. Danny graduated the Warrant Officer Candidate School on 28 May 2015. Upon graduating flight school on 21 August 2014, Danny served as a UH-60 Blackhawk Pilot and Aviation Life Support Equipment Officer. CW3 Randolph was aspiring to be a Maintenance Test Pilot and graduated from the Aviation Maintenance Officer Course on 6 October 2020. Danny’s dedication to duty and loyalty to his State was evident in his eagerness to volunteer for several national emergency missions to include hurricane relief, wildfire support, and COVID 19 support.
His awards include the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Air Assault Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Aviator Badge, the Tennessee National Guard War Service Ribbon, the Tennessee National Guard Emergency Service Ribbon, the Virgin Islands Emergency Service Ribbon, the Michigan Exercise Ribbon, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
CW3 Daniel Wadham, 39, of Joelton, TN, tragically lost his life February 15, 2023 in a UH-60 Blackhawk accident in Huntsville, AL.
Dan was born 29 September 1983 in Harris County, TX to parents Timothy and Debby. He married his wife Rosetta on 10 August 2021. He was father to two daughters Lillian and Scarlett.
Dan joined the Tennessee Army National Guard on 14 May 2007 as a Combat Engineer, but reclassed to Military Police shortly after completion of AIT. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 252nd Military Police Company in 2007. CW3 Wadham graduated the Warrant Officer Candidate School on 6 June 2013. Upon graduating WOCS, he was assigned as a UH-60 Pilot and eventually an Aviation Safety Officer for his company. While serving as a UH-60 Pilot in A Company 1-230th AHB, Dan deployed again to Kosovo in 2018. Dan’s dedication to duty and loyalty to his State was evident in his eagerness to volunteer for national emergency missions to include multiple hurricane relief missions, and COVID 19 support.
Dan’s awards include the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge, the Aviator Badge, the Florida National Guard Meritorious Service Ribbon, the Michigan Exercise Ribbon, the Tennessee National Guard Service Ribbon, The Tennessee National Guard Volunteer Ribbon, and the Public Health Service Unit Commendation.
CW4 Jesse Anderson, 43, of Boise, Idaho, died February 2nd, 2021 in a UH-60 Blackhawk accident in Idaho.
Jess’s optimism, open-mindedness, kindness, and loving nature made him an extraordinary person that was admired by all those whose lives he touched. Jess greatly valued diverse perspectives and he never shied away from deep discussions as he saw them as an opportunity to learn. We are here to share his incredible story.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal (3rd award), the Army Commendation Medal one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal one oak leaf cluster, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, the Master Aviator Badge, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the California Achievement Medal, the Idaho Emergency Duty Ribbon, and the Idaho Service Ribbon.
Jess is survived by the love of his life, his beautiful wife, Vikki, and his four children: Savannah, son-in-law Benjamin, Marcus, Kyle, and Jase, and parents Lori and Bruce Anderson.
CW3 Matthew Peltzer, 43, of Nampa Idaho died on February 2nd, 2021 in a UH-60 Blackhawk crash in Idaho.
Matthew was born and raised in Falmouth, Massachusetts. He studied computer science and mathematics at Seattle Pacific University, where he met and fell in love with Heidi Leben. They married on May 31, 2003, and have two daughters: Lúthien and Iris.
Matt served as an AH-64 Apache Pilot-in-Command, a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot, an Aviation Mission Survivability Officer, an Aviation Safety Officer, and a MEDEVAC pilot.
His awards include the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, the Senior Aviator Badge, and the Idaho Adjutant General’s Outstanding Unit Award.
CW3 George Geoffrey “Geoff” Laubhan lost his life on February 2nd, 2021, when his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed while on an Idaho Army National Guard training mission.
Geoff was born on Feb. 13, 1981, to George and Terry (Stanton) Laubhan in Nampa, Idaho. Geoff grew up in Middleton, Idaho. At an early age, Geoff began going on hunting trips with his dad. He was an Eagle Scout and participated in football, track, and band, graduating from Middleton High School in 1999. Geoff attended Boise State University.
In 2010, Geoff enlisted in the Idaho Army National Guard as an AH-64 attack helicopter repairer with D Company, 1st Battalion of the 183rd Aviation Regiment. This started his journey to becoming an aviator. Over the next few years, he attended various schools for both the AH-64D Apache and the UH-60 A/L Blackhawk Helicopters. He became an Instructor Pilot and supported Operation Beyond the Horizon in Guatemala.
Geoff was an avid Boise State football fan, and as the Broncos’ fame grew, so did his dedication to the team. He followed them to many games, including Hawaii in 2007. BSU may have lost the game, but Geoff got his bride. He proposed to Jen Myklegard there; they married in August 2008. Daughter Jillian was born June 19, 2011, and son Connor arrived on August 17, 2016.
Geoff is survived by his wife, Jen, children Jillian and Connor, his parents George and Terry Laubhan, and sister Lindsay (Hernan) Hernandez, and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws
CW5 Steven F. Skoda lost his life on January 21, 202, when his UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed while on a New York National Guard routine training mission.
Steve grew up in Johnstown, New York where he enjoyed and treasured life in the foothills of the Adirondacks; from his paper routes’ to lifeguarding, football, canoeing, and camping. His adventurous spirit and sense of duty brought him to an Army base in Alaska where his career of service began. At the end of his first tour, he pursued collegiate studies in communications, public policy, and engineering. Determined to become a helicopter pilot, Steve then enlisted in the Army National Guard.
Steve was a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Army and New York Army National Guard. His military helicopter pilot career took root when he learned to fly UH-1 helicopters in Rochester’s Army Aviation Support Facility in 1992, then followed on to New York’s Army National Guard’s C Company 1-171, in the same town. He was fascinated to always learn more and become skilled in all aspects and possibilities of his profession. Steve’s work with the guard took him on two tours to Afghanistan, where he piloted medical evacuation helicopters with teams of dedicated professionals who navigated and landed under fire to fly injured US Marines and allied forces to advance medical facilities. His career was filled with deployments to provide support and aid in national disasters and emergencies.
Wherever he ventured, everyone loved working and playing with Steve. With a kind and generous spirit, he was always willing to lead with his heart and lend a hand, serving his true purpose with humility.
Steven Frank Skoda was born on April 29, 1966, in Gloversville NY to Frank and Barbara Skoda. He was predeceased by his father on April 4, 1995. He is survived by his loving mother, 4 sisters, 8 nieces and nephews along with numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
On the evening of January 20, 2021, Christian J Koch, 39, of Honeoye Falls tragically lost his life while on a training mission with the New York State National Guard. Christian was a true American hero who lived a decorated life serving his country, saving lives, supporting his community and, especially, loving his family.
He is survived by his wife Teressa DaGama, his children Everett, 3, and Addison, 5, and “bonus” children Ari, 6, and Talia, 9. Also mourning his loss are his mother, Josephine Koch and brothers Scott J Koch (Aimee LaFever), their children Olivia, 18, and Hayden, 16, and brother David P Koch (Jennifer Wright) and children Phillip, 16, Audrey, 14, and Evelyn, 8, and Father David Koch. He was beloved by his fellow soldiers at the National Guard Aviation Unit and coworkers at the New York State Police Unit, who universally considered him a brother and a friend. Countless individuals also claim Christian as their “best friend” – a testament to the person he was, and the impact he had on so many.
Christian grew up in the York/Leicester area and was a 1999 graduate of York Central School. He went on to study mathematics at Brockport State before enlisting in the National Guard Infantry in March of 2000. He graduated second in his basic training class with honors, and, because of his excellent record, he was immediately awarded a slot in Airborne school and assigned to the A Co 1st Battalion 108th Infantry based in Geneseo, NY. He was soon promoted to E5 and given a slot in Air Assault School – a distinct honor since these schools seldom approve the National Guard level of service.
In 2004, Christian was accepted into Warrant Officer school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and after completion went on to attend flight school which he graduated in 2008. He was then deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008 to 2009, where he flew supplies and personnel.
Upon his return, he schooled for his UH-60 Blackhawk Instructor Pilot rating and completed the Aviation Warrant Officer advanced course. He then went on to serve in the Afghanistan campaign through 2013 as a Medical Evacuation pilot, saving many lives.
Throughout his training and active duty, Christian served as Honor Guards for Veterans’ funerals, escorted cancer survivors in Guilda’s Fundraiser Fashion Show, participated in Veterans Day ceremonies at York Central School, had his unit featured in the Geneseo War Museum, and participated in numerous other community events. He participated in Operation Noble Eagle, guarding the Northern Border and the GINEA Nuclear Power Plant following the tragedy of 9/11. And following Hurricane Florence in 2018, Christian and his unit were responsible for rescuing 87 people and numerous cats and dogs, and was acknowledged by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper by his personal sacrifice, professionalism and commitment in accomplishing the mission.
Despite a decorated military and aviation career, Christian’s proudest accomplishment was as a Dad and a Husband. He married Teressa in October of 2019 which brought their children together in a beautiful, blended family in Honeoye Falls. He will forever be renowned for family hikes, backyard fires, creating fairy houses, pulling practical jokes, paddle boarding with his partner, cooking incredible meals and being a superhero Dad to his children.
Christian’s generosity, selflessness, leadership, love and ability to make one laugh will be missed and cherished by everyone he knew, and all the lives he touched, saved and impacted
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel “Danny” G. Prial lost his life on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, when his UH-60 Black Hawk crashed while on a New York National Guard routine training mission.
Danny was born on April 26th, 1990 on Long Island at South Nassau Communities Hospital to Anne and Gregory Prial. He attended St. Stephen’s School and Warwick Valley High School. Upon graduating high school, Danny attended the United States Military Academy at West Point from 2008 to 2012.
He joined the 82nd Airborne Division as a helicopter pilot and was deployed to Afghanistan during 2014 and 2015. In 2020, he joined the New York National Guard.
Danny is survived by his beloved dog, Shea; his parents, his siblings: Becky Fullam (Joe), Terence Prial (Abbie), Brigid Prial, and Jennie Prial; as well as his nephew and niece, Sam and Ada Fullam; also survived by his maternal grandparents, Thomas and Florence Leavy and paternal grandparents, Philip and Helen Prial.
Danny loved being raised in Warwick and this town was incredibly special to him. He was excited to move to Rochester because it was “only” a few hours’ drive from Warwick, rather than a day of travel. Being a part of the Warwick cross-country and track team in high school was a formative experience, and he often wore his purple Warwick singlet from high school underneath his Army uniform. He preferred the cross-country season to track because it was more team-oriented, a value that he brought with him to the Army.
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.
19 Sep 1986 – 12 Nov 2020 AVCO, TF Sinai Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Chief Warrant Officer Three Dallas G. Garza died November 12, 2020 when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he was flying crashed during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Dallas was born in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to parents David and Belinda. He spent the majority of his childhood in Janesville, Wisconsin with his mother and siblings Aurora, Sylvia, and Tommy Long. For high school, he attended Seventy-First Senior High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Not long after graduating from high school in 2005, Dallas followed his father’s footsteps, enlisting in the Army.
His first duty station was in Fort Bragg, NC as a helicopter crew chief, where he was able to complete his first Airborne jump alongside his father during his last jump in the Army. His 2nd assignment was in Hawaii where he fell in love with the island before he truly began to pursue his journey to become an aviator. His first duty station as a pilot was Fort Hood. While at Hood, Dallas excelled becoming a pilot in command and subsequently instructor pilot. After Hood, he PCS’d back to Hawaii, where he progressed Standardization Pilot and Instrument Examiner. Following his time in Egypt, Dallas was set to attend Green Platoon at Fort Campbell, KY due to his favorable assessment for the 160th SOAR.
When not in uniform, Dallas knew how to live life to the fullest as a father, son, brother and friend. He would wear flamingos with pride, singing his heart out in karaoke, and dress up every chance he could, including dressing up as the hero he will forever be remembered as, Superman.
Dallas is survived by his young daughters, Viviana Garza, Isabella Garza, and his oldest son Christopher; parents, David Garza Jr., Maria De Jesus Garza, and Belinda Swinney; brothers, David D. Garza and Tommy Long; sisters, Jesica Garza, Aurora Long, and Sylvia Long.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan S. Ghabour, 27, was one of the five U.S. soldiers who died when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Sinai, Egypt on November 12, 2020. The soldiers were participating in a Multinational Force and Observers deployment, part of routine efforts to supervise conditions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.
Marwan Ghabour graduated from Arlington High School in 2010. He was a member of the soccer team and became a volunteer coach in 2015.
Ghabour went on to study architecture and, according to his brother, discovered he had a passion for flying soon after enrolling in architecture school. He learned to become a pilot on his own before joining the U.S. Army in 2018.
He arrived in Egypt in January 2020, marking his first overseas assignment. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon and the Army Aviation Badge.
Marwan Ghabour is survived by his parents, his brother and two sisters.
Kyle was one of the five U.S. soldiers who died when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Sinai, Egypt on November 12. The soldiers were participating in a Multinational Force and Observers deployment, part of routine efforts to supervise conditions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace. He is survived and will be lovingly remembered by his wife and best friend Lauren (Nikki Montgomery) McKee. He is also survived by his three children, sons Jackson and Canaan and newborn daughter Isla; his parents, Steve and Roberta (Yarshen) McKee, his brother Shane from Leroy Township, OH and sister Lisa Stone, husband Walt from Chesterfield, VA. Kyle was the Uncle to Henry, Peyton, Rocco and Evelena. He leaves behind an extended family in Indiana, Colorado and California and many friends around the world.
Kyle was born on February 14, 1985 to Steve and Roberta McKee. He grew up in LeRoy Township and went to Riverside High School in Painesville. Kyle enlisted in the U.S Army in 2003. He previously served tours in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. Kyle was a flight engineer and a flight and safety instructor at the USASOC ( United States Army Special Operations Command) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina before deploying to Egypt in June 2020. Kyle has a long list of accolades that include the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, Senior Aircrew Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.
6 Jan 1997 – 12 Nov 2020 AVCO, TF Sinai Watseka, Illinois
Sergeant Jeremy C. Sherman died November 12, 2020 when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he was crewing crashed during a peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Jeremy was born on January 6, 1997 in Covington, TN. He was a 2015 graduate of Watseka Community High School. He loved spending time with his family, enjoyed summers at Yogi Bear Camp Grounds, and had a love for dogs, especially Chewy, his pet Chihuahua. Jeremey loved the Chicago Bears and ice cream. He was a loyal friend and cherished his family.
Jeremy joined the United States Army in 2015 as Crew Chief. His decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.
Jeremy served in South Korea, Afghanistan, and Egypt. While serving, he was working on his degree in Aeronautics in hopes of one day becoming a Black Hawk Pilot.
He is survived by his mother and father, Gwendolyn and Scott Childress of Watseka; his brother, Nathan Childress of Watseka; his sister, Shea Childress of Watseka; and his wife, Kathleen Sherman.
23 Jun 1991 – 05 Dec 2019 C Co, 2-211th GSAB, MN ARNG Winsted, MN
Chief Warrant Officer Two James Arnold Rogers, Jr. died Dec 5, 2019, when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he was flying crashed southwest of St. Cloud, MN.
James was born June 23, 1991, in Madelia, MN, the son of James A. Rogers, Sr. and Beth A. Rogers (Hoffman), and a brother to Candis Folkens (Rogers). He graduated from Saint James High School in 2010, and Saint Cloud State University in December 2019. Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Rogers joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in June 2009, as a field artillery automated tactical data system specialist with the 1-125FA in New Ulm. He completed the warrant officer basic course in May 2013, was commissioned as a WO1, and attended UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker, AL, which he completed in August 2014.
CW2 Rogers was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from May 2011 to May 2012, and again from June 2018 to June 2019 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Inherent Resolve. James’ awards include: the Air Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2nd award), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M (mobilized) Device, Basic Aviator Badge, the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Minnesota State Active Duty (3rd Award), Minnesota Service Ribbon (2nd Award), and the Minnesota Good Conduct Ribbon.
James was an outgoing and charismatic man with a larger than life personality. Though he was already quite accomplished for a man of his age, his future plans were even greater. He was preparing to attend flight school to add fixed wing commercial aircraft to his skill set, and hoped to further his education by attending either law school or pursuing an MBA. James and his Uncle Jake had even started a real estate investment company in recent years. James loved spending time with friends and family and could always be counted on for a practical joke, a great laugh, friendly smile, or a kind word just when you needed it the most.
He is survived by his loving parents, James and Beth Rogers; sister Candis Folkens; brother-in-law Bryan Folkens; grandmother Patricia Hoffman; and 19 aunts and uncles.
06 Jun 1989 – 05 Dec 2019 C Co, 2-211th GSAB, MN ARNG Perham, MN
Chief Warrant Officer Two Charles Nord died Dec 5, 2019, when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he was flying crashed southwest of St. Cloud, MN.
Charles Paul Nord was born on June 6, 1989 in Breckenridge, MN to Paul and Monica (Braun) Nord. He was baptized into the Christian faith on June 25, 1989 by Rev. Lambert Studzinski in Wyndmere, ND. Charles lived on the family farm outside of Wyndmere where he enjoyed spending his days helping his Grandpa Jack and Dad on their dairy farm. He really liked riding in the tractor during planting season or cutting hay. Charles also spent time exploring the farm with his dog, Alex, by his side and then a few years later with his brother James. In 2001, the Nords moved to Vergas, MN. Charles attended school in Perham, MN where he was a member of the cross country and track teams. He graduated in 2007. While attending school in Perham Charles used his humor, kind heart and quiet confidence to become a friend to everyone he met. Shortly after graduation, Charles felt he needed to do more for his country. He enlisted in the National Guard to become part of a tank crew. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Charles also earned his associate degree in construction electrical technology.
In 2009, Charles met the love of his life, Kaley Faye Ratz. They were united in marriage on July 14, 2012. They made their home in Detroit Lakes, MN. In September of 2015, Charles was selected into Warrant Officer training program to qualify for helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker, AL. Charles and Kaley moved to Fort Rucker in July of 2016. Charles excelled in his training and graduated with high honors. Charles and Kaley welcomed into the world their beautiful baby daughter, Lydia, on May 3, 2017. Charles completed flight school in September 2017 and the family moved to Vergas where Charles was a part of Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion. Charles finally found his calling, being a MEDEVAC pilot. In June 2018, he and the rest of Charlie Company was deployed to Kuwait and other parts of the middle east. It was there where he formed a tight bond with his fellow soldiers. He attained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2. Charles returned home in May 2019 and began building his family’s new home by Perham, which they moved into in August. Charles also became employed at Bond Helicopter Service of Perham as a crop sprayer. He often said he landed his dream job. He was also very excited about the upcoming arrival of his son, Jack Charles.
Charles will be remembered forever for his uncanny ability to meet someone for five minutes and make them his good friend for life. His easy-going nature, goofy grin and quick-witted humor was able to put anyone at ease and brighten anyone’s day. He loved his family incredibly. You could see he was head over heels in love with his wife Kaley, his daughter Lydia and his unborn son, Jack. He also loved his other family, the men and women of Charlie Company. He was so proud to be part of that group and being able to make a difference in the world.
Charles is survived by his loving wife Kaley; his daughter Lydia; his unborn son Jack, all of Perham; his parents Paul and Monica Nord of Vergas; his brother James (Tiffany) Nord of Moorhead, MN; maternal grandparents Jack and Kathleen Braun of Wyndmere; mother and father-in-law Jeff and Lisa Ratz of Vergas; sister-in-law Keshia (John) Buschette of Cormorant, MN; brother-in-law Kasey (Tori) Ratz of Detroit Lakes, MN; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, a nephew and a niece.
21 Mar 1991 – 05 Dec 2019 C Co, 2-211th GSAB, MN ARNG Avon, MN
Sergeant Kort Plantenberg died Dec 5, 2019, when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he was crewing crashed southwest of St. Cloud, MN.
Kort Miller Plantenberg was born March 21, 1991 at St. Cloud Hospital. He grew up in Avon and from an early age was obsessed with helicopters and flying, his lifelong dream.
He graduated from Albany Area High School in 2009 and from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2013 with a degree in criminology, then went to work as a correctional officer with the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department.
Kort enjoyed fishing and hunting, served as a lifeguard and on ski patrol, and was a member of the Minnesota biathlon team for the Army National Guard. He tirelessly contributed his time and skills to help friends and neighbors, loved solving problems and met challenges with unbreakable determination.
His sense of service and dreams of flying inspired Kort to enlist in the Minnesota Army National Guard March 1, 2016 as an aircraft electrician. SGT Plantenberg served a nine-month deployment with the C Co, 2-211th GSAB in Kuwait, where the unit provided aerial medical evacuation.
Kort returned from deployment May 11 and was recently hired as a federal technician UH-60 mechanic at Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in St. Cloud. He was selected to start the state warrant officer program in March 2020 and then flight school next fall in pursuit of his lifelong passion. His ambition was to work on helicopters during the week and fly them on the weekend.
He is survived by his parents, Steve and Laura Plantenberg of Avon; sister Isabel Plantenberg of Avon; grandmother Theresa Elliott of Savage; girlfriend Bryonna Anderson of Clovis; trusted canine companion Max; and countless friends and coworkers who will always remember his quiet kindness, gentle strength and generous spirit.
02 May 1986 – 20 Nov 2019 B Co, 1-227th AVN REGT Killeen, TX
Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Charles Knadle was killed in action on November 20, 2019 in Logar Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
He was born on May 2, 1986 in Newark, Texas to Edward A. and Charlene J. Knadle from Florida. He was raised in Fort Worth, Texas with his three brothers: Michael, Jonathan and Stephen Knadle. David graduated early from Richland High School in 2003. David attended Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, TX and graduated in 2008 as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).
David met his wife, Precious Silkey and her son, Eason Daniel Bertone, while he was working as an Account Executive managing factoring accounts at Apex Capital in Fort Worth. He left Apex to follow his dreams and to serve his country as an aviator by joining the U.S. Army in November 5, 2012. David attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, F Company, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment. David became a warrant officer candidate, attending the Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker, Alabama. David and Silkey were blessed by the arrival of their precious daughter, Starling Grace Knadle, on April 3, 2014. Through rigorous training, studying and innumerable hours of flight hours, David graduated Warrant Officer Basic Course as an aviator, favoring the AH-64E, Apache helicopter.
CW2 Knadle’s first duty station was Fort Hood, Texas, at the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. CW2 Knadle spent 28 months as a member of the Charlie Company “Vampires” as an Aircraft Armament Maintenance Officer, and in that time achieved the distinction of being a qualified pilot. In August 2017, CW2 Knadle transitioned to Bravo Company “Reapers” to assume the role of Mission Planner and deployed to Germany. CW2 Knadle achieved his certification as a Pilot Instructor that same year.
In October 2019, CW2 Knadle was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Knight Hawk in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, attached to 10th Mountain Division.
David’s commendations include the Bronze Star, Army Aviator Badge, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and two Army Achievement Medals.
David is survived by his loving wife, Silkey, his step-son, Eason and his beautiful daughter, Starling. His father, Edward and mother Charlene Knadle and brothers, Michael, Jonathan and Stephen Knadle and Stephen’s wife, Gabriella Knadle. David’s Grandmother, Kay F. Johnson resides in the Highlands, NC. David is beloved by so many in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends from all walks of life.
14 Jul 1994 – 20 Nov 2019 B Co, 1-227th AVN REGT Hilo, HI
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk Fuchigami was killed in action on November 20, 2019 in Logar Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
He was born July 14, 1994 and was raised in Hilo, Hawaii, and Henderson, Nevada. He graduated from Rancho High School in 2012. He was a member of JROTC and The Aviation Magnet Program, being one of the youngest in his school’s history to get a pilot’s license.
He served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kobe, Japan. He joined the military at age 22.
After basic training he attended the Warrant Officer Candidate School. He continued to flight school in Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he trained in an UH-72 Lakota and was selected to fly the AH-64 Apache.
He married his eternal companion, McKenzie Norman, of Corinne, Utah, in the Ogden LDS Temple in March 2019. Shortly afterwards they were stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.
Takeshi had many talents including flying helicopters, shooting, fishing, building things with his hands and receiving his black belt. Takeshi always stood up for his beliefs. He was ambitious, driven, and determined, and placed his priorities and values first. He was always true to his beliefs, but also considerate of others. He was often found doing small acts of service. He placed importance on relationships and serving others. He genuinely cared about people. He gave others the eternal perspective and attracted others with his vibrant light.
As a solider he was passionate about serving his country, and was honored with the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Aviator Badge.
Takeshi is survived by his loved ones: wife, McKenzie Norman Fuchigami; parents, Kirk Takeshi Fuchigami and Lisa Marie Casey; brother, Ernest Isami Fuchigami; sister, Hannah Marie Casey; father and mother-in-law, Steven Carter Norman and Jana Lee Hunsaker Norman; sisters- and brothers-in-law: Melissa Norman, Mindy (Nathan) Salisbury, Lindsey (Andy) Conerly, and Lacie Norman; grandparents, Dr. Ernest Louis Bade and Karen Lee Bade, Jackie Fuchigami, Royal and Elaine Norman, and Carma Hunsaker Davis.
He will be joining many of his loved ones on the other side.
He brought much joy to his wife and family. His death will not be considered a “goodbye,” but a “see you soon.”
07 May 1986 – 26 Sep 2019 C Co, 1-5 AVN REGT Collierville, TN
Major Trevor Joseph died September 26, 2019, when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter he was flying crashed in Fort Polk, LA.
He was born on May 7, 1986 in Orlando, FL to his parents, Peter and Nancy Joseph. In 2003, he met the love of his life, Erin Joseph, and so began the sweetest, truest love story ever told. They married on June 1, 2008 and recently celebrated their 11th year wedding anniversary.
Major Joseph was a 2004 graduate of Houston High School, in Collierville, TN, and excelled there in both his academics as well as on the soccer field. He was a loyal Tennessee Vols fan and attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville until 2008, when he was commissioned as a medical services officer in the US Army. Soon after, he began his extraordinary career as a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot.
Major Joseph was the Commander of “Cajun Dustoff” MEDEVAC unit in Fort Polk, LA at the time of his death. He was an exceptional leader and courageous aviator who was always proud to go above and beyond for his soldiers and never hesitated at any mission, no matter the risk. Over his 11 year career, Major Joseph deployed twice to Afghanistan (2010 and 2017) and was awarded multiple honors including: the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Valor and Combat, two Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Combat Action Badge and the Senior Aviator Badge. He was also one of four soldiers who were awarded “Rescue Of the Year” for their bravery and courage shown during a difficult MEDEVAC mission while in Afghanistan in 2016.
Major Joseph is survived by his loving wife, Erin Joseph; devoted parents, Peter and Nancy Joseph; a brother, Peter Chadwick (Shannon) Joseph, Jr.; parents-in-law, Tom and Karen Tutt; brothers-in-law, Taylor (Elaina) Tutt and Trevor Tutt; and sisters-in-law, Jackie Tutt, Jessie (Kelly) Edwards, and Allison Tutt. He also leaves behind many adoring nephews and nieces; Philip and Nathanael Joseph, and Audrey, Emmett, and Evelyn Edwards; as well as several loving aunts, uncles and cousins. In addition, his two “furry” children, Charlie and Layla.