Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

2 NY National Guard soldiers ID’d as victims of helicopter crash on U.S.-Mexico border

Utah Army National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter during airborne training at Fairfield, Utah, June 20, 2012. (Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards/U.S. Army)

Two New York National Guard soldiers were among the three people killed when a military helicopter crashed near the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities confirmed Sunday.

Chief Warrant Officers John Grassia, 30, and Casey Frankoski, 28, were killed when their chopper went down Friday afternoon near Rio Grande City in far south Texas. Grassia was also a state trooper.

Border Patrol Agent Chris Luna, 49, was also killed in the crash, officials said Sunday. A fourth person was seriously wounded and remained hospitalized Sunday. Though authorities did not identify him, the Albany Times Union reported it was another New York National Guard member, Jacob Pratt.

“New York will never forget the service of State Trooper John Grassia and National Guard member Casey Frankoski,” New York Attorney General Letitia James posted on X. “My heart is with their families after this terrible incident, and I’m praying for the recovery of National Guard member Jacob Pratt.”

The crew of four was traveling in a UH-72 Lakota helicopter as part of the federal government’s border security effort in Texas. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Grassia was from upstate Schenectady and joined the National Guard in 2013 as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter maintenance specialist.

Frankoski was from upstate Rensselaer and joined in 2016, training to be a UH-60 Black Hawk and UH-72 Lakota helicopter pilot. She was the daughter of former Rensselaer Police Chief James Frankoski.

“A proud native of Rensselaer and distinguished graduate of Columbia High School, Casey was not only an excellent student but also excelled in sports and community service before joining the New York National Guard,” Rensselaer Mayor Michael Stammel said in a statement.

Pratt, who graduated from Rensselaer High School, was the aircraft crew chief on the ill-fated mission. Luna joined the Border Patrol in 2007. He is survived by his wife, two children, his parents and his brother.

“Every single day, our Border Patrol agents place themselves in harm’s way so that the rest of us can be safe and secure,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “My thoughts, and the deepest condolences of our department, are with Agent Luna’s family, loved ones and colleagues, and with those of the National Guardsmen who lost their lives.”

Thousands of National Guard members from various states have been sent to the U.S.-Mexico border at different points over the past two decades.


© 2024 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC