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Fort Drum ceremony to remember 11 soldiers killed in 2003 crash

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FORT DRUM — A wreath-laying ceremony on post today will mark 10 years since a Black Hawk helicopter crash took the lives of 11 soldiers here.

The crash took place during a short training flight on the afternoon of March 11, 2003.

An Army report showed the Black Hawk became separated from two other helicopters during their return to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.

The crash site was found a few miles northeast of the airfield, near Purcell Road.

The victims included the following soldiers from Company C, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team: 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 and Pfc. Andrew D. Stevens.

Also killed that day were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth L. Miller, Spc. Lucas V. Tripp and Spc. Barry M. Stephens, all of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.

Capt. Christopher E. Britton, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, also died.

Two survivors, Spc. Dmitri Petrov and Spc. Edwin A. Mejia, suffered major injuries in the crash.

About 2,500 attended a memorial service a few days after the crash, including then-Gov. George E. Pataki, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, then-Rep. John M. McHugh, then-Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John M. Keane and then-Army Secretary Thomas E. White.

The 10th Mountain Division unveiled a plaque in the soldiers’ honor in 2004.

Today’s event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on the post.

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