CW2 John Grassia

December 6, 1993 - March 8, 2024

A Co, 1-224 AVN

John made the ultimate sacrifice while conducting a mission when his UH-72 Lakota crashed near Rio Grande City, Texas on March 8th, 2024.

John Michael Grassia III, 30, known as J. Michael or J, was a beacon of courage and a testament to the selfless spirit that defines true heroism. Born on December 6, 1993, in Niskayuna, New York, J's journey in this world was marked by an unwavering commitment to service and adventure. On March 8, 2024, J's story reached its valiant conclusion as he died doing what he loved most: flying and protecting those he loved. J. Michael was the beloved son of John Michael Grassia Jr. and Judith (Poltorak) Grassia; he was their fearless youngest child who went after life in full throttle.

John’s passion for serving his nation was evident early on. When he turned 18, he immediately enlisted in the Army National Guard before his graduation from Schalmont High School in 2012. J attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Advanced Individual Training in 2013 at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Upon completion, he was awarded the MOS 15T - UH-60 Helicopter Repairer. From 2013 to 2014, he served in Kuwait, where he gained unforgettable experiences and friendships.

J. Michael furthered his education at the University at Albany, earning a B.S. in Informatics and Cyber Security. From 2017 to 2019, he worked as a cybersecurity analyst for the NYS Department of Homeland Security.

In 2018, John was selected for Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Novosel (Rucker), AL. In 2020, he attended the UH—60M aviation qualification course and Warrant Officer Basic Course at Fort Novosel, AL, and later, in 2023, he excelled in advanced courses. John's commitment to excellence propelled him to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School and the UH-60M aviation qualification course. As a Chief Warrant Officer 2 and UH-60M Pilot, he embodied the word determination. CW2 Grassia's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal 3rd award, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement 3rd Award, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" device 2nd award Basic Aviator Badge, and Basic Aviation Badge.

J was making his dreams a reality. In 2022, he proudly became a New York State Trooper. He was stationed at Troop K SO Livingston and later transferred to Fonda, New York. His devotion to helping and protecting others was evident to all who knew him. He was a true American hero.

If you were to find one word to describe J’s life, it would be, adventure! His love for adrenaline was sparked at the young age of four, leading him to become the renowned number 605 in BMX racing and, later, a force to be reckoned with in motocross. J’s infectious smile and spirit made him the life of the party, someone who brought joy and laughter wherever he went.

He enjoyed being on the water, and as a member of the Sacandaga Boating Club, boating was a way of life. Being on the lake and at home on his vast property in Rotterdam were his favorite places. He always extended the invite to family and friends, and in return, countless memories and rumbles of laughter were created. J had the unique ability to be the glue that held people together, and throwing a party was his specialty. His friends were an extension of his family; they meant the world to him, almost as much as his dogs. John was an amazing dog dad to Arlo.

His love for family was boundless, especially for his nieces and nephews, J was more than the fun uncle; he was a role model whose legacy of bravery and kindness will inspire them for generations to come.

As we reflect on his short but fulfilled life, let us remember the lessons John imparted through his actions: to serve with honor, to love without limits, and to embrace today because tomorrow is not promised. John Michael Grassia III was a hero not only in how he died but, more importantly, in how he lived. He made a positive difference in our world, and the ripple effect of his life carries on now and forever.

To continue his memory are his parents, John Michael Grassia Jr. and Judith (Poltorak) Grassia; sisters, Gina (Ryan) McDermott and Krista (Marcus) Rotondi; cherished nieces and nephews, Declan and Liliana McDermott and JJ, Frankie and Mila Rotondi; loving aunts and uncles, Valerie (Raymond) Bleser, Richard (June) Poltorak, Vincent (Anita) Grassia and Sandra Gizzi; as well as many cousins and extended family members. He is predeceased by his grandparents, Richard and Constance Poltorak and John and Mary Grassia Sr. John has been reunited at the rainbow bridge with his loving dogs, Abby and Myah.