25 Jan 1981 – 20 Jan 2021
C Co, 1-171 NY Dustoff
Honeoye Falls, New York
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.