Ceremony honors soldiers killed in 2003 Black Hawk crash at Fort Drum
By Gordon Block | Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. | Published: March 11, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. — The lives of 11 soldiers killed in a Black Hawk crash 10 years ago were remembered at a ceremony Monday morning in front of a monument created in 2004 in their honor.
“The names etched on the monument...they loved, laughed and cried, just like you and me. Some were fathers, husbands and brothers, all were sons.” said Lt. Col. Roland Dicks, commander of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. “They died doing what they were asked to do.”
The crash took place on the afternoon of March 11, 2003, during a short training flight, when the aircraft separated from two other helicopters during its return to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. The remains of the helicopter were found a few miles northeast of the airfield.
During his remarks, Lt. Col. Dicks read about each of the victims, highlighting their background and personalities.
Killed in the crash were Staff Sgt. Brian Pavlich, Sgt. John L. Eichenlaub Jr., Sgt. Joshua M. Harapko, Pfc. Shawn A. Mayerscik, Pfc. Tommy C. Young, Pfc. Stryder O. Stoutenburg, Pfc. Andrew D. Stevens, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth L. Miller, Spc. Lucas V. Tripp, Spc. Barry M. Stephens and Capt. Christopher E. Britton.
The ceremony was held at the infantry regiment’s headquarters. The unit’s Company C lost seven soldiers during the incident. Also losing soldiers that day were Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment and the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.