Three soldiers killed in mysterious National Guard helicopter crash in New York

MENDON, NY – A U.S. Army National Guard helicopter crash that occurred on the evening of January 20th has left three soldiers deceased, according to officials.

While the crash is still being investigated, none of the deceased have been identified by name, nor has there been any theories presented as to what may have caused the helicopter to crash.

From what the New York Army National Guard has revealed about the incident, the helicopter was specifically a UH-60 medical evac chopper which the soldiers aboard were engaged in what was referred to as a routine training mission when it crashed.

The helicopter had crashed at approximately 6:30 p.m. on January 20th, in a field area not far from West Bloomfield and Cheese Factory roads. After the incident had occurred, both firefighters and deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

MCSO Sheriff Todd Baxter stated the following with regard to the loss of life that transpired due to the crash:  

“This is a burden… a heavy, heavy burden, upon all of us. These are our freedom providers – and just showing again, freedom is not free. We lost three great Americans today.”

Sheriff Baxter delved into the valiant efforts employed by the first responders that hit the scene after the crash was discovered:

“They went into life-saving mode trying to rescue anybody that could be on that aircraft or in that area – including grid search – with New York State Police helicopter to find anyone on that aircraft or in that area to see if there were any surviving victims.”

Officials say the helicopter was based out of the Army Aviation Support Facility located at the Greater Rochester International Airport.

While the soldiers have not been identified by name, officials did say that they were assigned to the 1st Battalion’s C Company within the 171st General Support Aviation Battalion.

Investigators have been in contact with the Greater Rochester International Airport to determine if there was any communication between those aboard the helicopter and anyone working the control tower at the time of the crash.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement on the evening of January 20th, lamenting the loss of life that occurred during the crash:

“I am devastated by the news tonight of a New York Army National Guard helicopter crash in the Town of Mendon that killed three of New York’s bravest during a training mission.”

“National Guard members are our citizen soldiers who voluntarily serve and protect both here and abroad, and I extend prayers and condolences from all New Yorkers to the family, loved ones and fellow soldiers of these honorable heroes who we will never forget.”

On the morning of January 21st, the remains of the three deceased soldiers were transported to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office.

During the transporting of the soldiers’ remains, a procession took place where numerous first responders engaged in a vehicle motorcade that helped escort the soldiers through various Monroe County communities before arriving in the medical examiner’s office in Brighton.

Both the National Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration are involved in the investigation to determine what may have caused the helicopter to crash.

This is a developing story. Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we gather further insight into this incident. 

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LET Unity

Back in November of 2020, a helicopter crash in Egypt took the lives of seven people – five of which were American soldiers. 

Here’s that previous report from November. 


EGYPT – During what was described as a routine mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, five American soldiers and two additional members associated with the Multinational Force and Observers died during a helicopter crash. 

While not all details have been released regarding the crash, the United States Army have identified the five American soldiers that died during the crash. 

On November 12th, eight individuals composed of six American soldiers and a described French peacekeeper and Czech member of the Multinational Force and Observers were engaged in a peacekeeping mission which had them flying nearby the city of Sharm el-Sheikh. 

The Multinational Force and Observers, or commonly referred to as the MFO, is tasked with supervising the facilitation and security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.

While flying in the UH-60 Black Hawk, seven of the eight peacekeepers aboard were killed during a crash which preliminary investigations presume to be associated with a mechanical failure of sorts. 

The names of the American soldiers that passed away in the crash are as follows: 

  • Captain Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Sameh Ghabour, 27, from Marlborough, Massachusetts
  • Staff Sergeant Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio
  • Sergeant Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Illinois

As of November 15th, the MFO have not released the names of the French and Czech members that passed away during the crash, pending familial notifications. 

The eighth person that was on the plane that crashed was also an American soldier who was reported as having been seriously injured from the incident. 

In a statement released by the MFO following the crash, the following was conveyed: 

“A full investigation of the cause of the crash, which appears to be mechanical in nature, has been launched.”

Officials have not released the precise location of where the helicopter crashed, nor have they revealed whether the aircraft crashed on land or in the sea – which the Red Sea is around the proximity of the mentioned mission location. 


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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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