Victims identified in crash of National Guard helicopter at US Mexico border

The crash resulted in the loss of two US National Guard members, one Border Patrol agent. Another National Guard soldier sustained injuries.


The two US National Guard members who were victim to a deadly helicopter crash near Rio Grande City, Texas, along with a border patrol agent, have been identified as Casey Frankoski and John Grassia III by New York officials. The agent was not yet identified.

John Grassia III, one of the National Guard members, was identified by the New York State Troopers PBA. In a solemn statement, the union honored Trooper Grassia, recognizing his unwavering dedication to serving and protecting both New York State and the entire nation.

“Trooper Grassia, who was dedicated to serving and protecting not only the citizens of New York State but also the citizens of the entire United States, will be remembered for his ultimate sacrifice,” the New York State Troopers PBA said in a statement.

The other National Guard soldier, Casey Frankoski, was identified as a victim by Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel.

“Rensselaer is deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Casey Frankoski, a remarkable New York National Guard helicopter pilot who tragically lost her life in a helicopter crash on Friday while patrolling the US-Mexico border,” the mayor said in a Facebook post.

President Joe Biden released a statement on the status of the third soldier involved in the crash, stating the individual was “badly injured in the crash and is hospitalized.” No further details were given about the soldier’s condition.

“These brave Americans dedicated their lives to protecting our nation. They signed up knowing the risks and believing in the mission of serving their fellow Americans by keeping our nation safe,” Biden said in the statement. “Our gratitude is profound, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

According to the Defense Department’s Joint Task Force North, the UH-72 Lakota helicopter was “conducting aviation operations” before crashing at 2:50pm local time. Texas Department of Public Safety South Regional Director Victor Escalon further explained that the military helicopter was “on federal orders working with Border Patrol" to address the border crisis that has been unfolding in Texas.

Presently, the cause of the crash is under investigation, as authorities work to determine the circumstances surrounding the event.

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