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Memorial for Fort Drum Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash Held Friday

FORT DRUM- In a somber ceremony at the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) honored the eleven soldiers who died in the helicopter crash Tuesday.

The secretary of the Army joined Governor Pataki and New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton late Friday morning to honor the memory of the victims of the Black Hawk crash. The service was held in a hangar at Wheeler Sack Air Field, where the helicopter was headed at the end of a training exercise when it crashed in a wooded area on the military post.

Maj. Gen. F.L. Hagenbeck, the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum commander said of the victims Thursday, "This ceremony underscores the values soldiers live and die by: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Army Values."

Capt. Christopher E. Britton, 27, from Ohio, was a pilot assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment. Britton was the pilot of the helicopter. Britton joined the Army in January 1999 and arrived at Fort Drum in March 2000.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth L. Miller, 35, from Escondida, Calif. was a pilot assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment. Miller was the pilot in charge of the helicopter. He joined the Army in February 1987 and arrived at Fort Drum in January 2002.

Staff Sgt. Brian L. Pavlich, 25, from Port Jervis was a mortar section sergeant assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Pavlich joined the Army in January 1996 and arrived at Fort Drum in June 1999.

Sgt. John L. Eichenlaub, Jr., 24, from South Williamsport, Pa., was nuclear, biological and chemical defense specialist assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Eichenlaub joined the Army in March 1996 and arrived at Fort Drum in June 2000. He was a veteran of the 4-31 Operation Enduring Freedom deployment to Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joshua M. Harapko, 23, from Peoria, Ariz., was an Infantry fire team leader assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Harapko joined the Army in September 1997 and arrived at Fort Drum in May 2000.

Sgt. Lucas V. Tripp, 23, from Aurora, Colo., was a UH-60 crew chief assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment. Tripp joined the Army in March 1999 and arrived at Fort Drum in October 1999.

Spc. Barry M. Stephens, 20, from Pinson, Ala., was a UH-60 crew chief assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment. Stephens joined the Army in October 2000 and arrived at Fort Drum in October 2001.

Spc. Shawn A. Mayerscik, 22, from Oil City, Pa., was an infantryman and the company radio operator assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Mayerscik joined the Army in August 1999 and arrived at Fort Drum in November 2001.

Pfc. Tommy C. Young, 20, from Knoxville, Tenn., was the unit armorer for Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Young joined the Army in April 2001 and arrived at Fort Drum in November 2001. He was a veteran of the 4-31 Operation Enduring Freedom deployment to Afghanistan.

Pfc. Stryder O. Stoutenburg, 18, from Missoula, Mont., was a mortarman assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Stoutenburg joined the Army in May 2002 and arrived at Fort Drum in September 2002.

Pfc. Andrew D. Stevens, 20, from Rockingham, N.H., was an infantryman assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. He joined the Army in August 2001 and arrived at Fort Drum in January 2003.

All these soldiers were awarded the meritorious service medal posthumously.

Injured are: Spc. Dmitri Petrov, 24, from Brooklyn, N.Y., a fire team leader assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Petrov joined the Army in April 2000 and arrived at Fort Drum in September 2001. He is in critical condition at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown.

Spc. Edwin A. Mejia, 20, from Houston, Texas, an M249 machinegunner,
assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. Mejia joined the Army in June 2001 and arrived at Fort Drum in October 2001. He is in serious condition at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown.