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Philip Windorski Jr., who grew up in Grand Rapids, was among the four Americans who died when two helicopters went down in northern Iraq.

PRESS RELEASE

January 29, 2009

Fort Drum Public Affairs

Four Fort Drum aviators killed in crash

Fort Drum, NY - Four Fort Drum pilots were killed on Januray 26, 2009, in a crash involving two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters in Northern Iraq.

The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a two-seat single engine armed reconnaissance helicopter.

The cause of the crash is unclear at this time, however, it does not appear to be by enemy action. An investigation is ongoing.

The fallen include:

 

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Philip Windorski, Jr., 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division

Windorski, age 35, joined the armed forces in November, 1991. He completed his Warrant Officer training at Fort Rucker in 1998 and started flying the Kiowa Warrior in 1999. After assignments at Fort Polk, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for 16 months in 2003 - 2004, and Fort Rucker where he used his combat pilot experience to train other pilots, Windorski was assigned to Fort Drum in October 2007. He deployed with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2008.

Windorkski's awards and achievements include 2 Air Medals, 5 Army Commendation Medals, 5 Army Achievement Medals, 2 Presidential Unit Citations, 2 Army Good Conduct Medals, 2 National Defense Service Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Senior Army Aviator Badge and posthumously, the Bronze Star Medal.

Windorski's home state of record is Minnesota.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

 



 

Bob Stein & Phil Windorski.    WoW... we were young!!!   This picture was taken in the fall of 1988.  Location was in the middle of no where.  This is a coveted picture from my past, it protrays a happier day in my life.  Phil and his family were a big part of my life.  Phil and Bruce are the brothers i never had.  When the chips were down Phil and Bruce have always been there for me.  I will miss you Phil and I will never forget you or what our freindship means to me.

Bruce Windorski, Robert Stein, and Phil Windorski

 

PRESS RELEASE cont.....

January 29, 2009

 

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Tillery, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division

Tillery, age 31, joined the armed forces in August, 1995. He completed his Warrant Officer training in 2003 and came to Fort Drum to fly the Kiowa Warrior in June 2004. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for
11 months with the 10th Mountain Division in 2005-2006, and again in October 2008.

Tillery's awards and decorations include the Air Medal, 2 Army Commendation Medals, 6 Army Achievement Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal for Combat Service, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, The Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Air Assault Badge, the Army Aviator Badge, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachutist Badge and posthumously, the Bronze Star Medal.

Tillery's home state of record is Oregon.

He is survived by his wife and three children.


Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin Todd, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division

Todd, age 29, joined the armed forces in October, 2000. He completed his Warrant Officer training in 2005 and came to Fort Drum to fly the Kiowa Warrior in November, 2007. He deployed is support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2008.

Todd's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Expert Infantry Badge, the Parachutist Badge and posthumously, the Bronze Star Medal.

Todd's home state of record is Washington.

He is survived by his wife and child.


Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew Kelley, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division

Kelley, age 30, joined the armed forces is March 2003. He completed his Warrant Officer training in 2005 and came to Fort Drum to fly the Kiowa Warrior in October 2007. Previous deployments include an 8 month tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004. He deployed again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2008.

Kelley's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Aviation Badge, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Expert Infantry Badge, the Parachutist Badge and posthumously, the Bronze Star Medal.

Kelley's home state of record in Missouri.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

 

***NEW****  Crash that killed Grand Rapids soldier caused by enemy fire
By Lisa Rosemore
Grand Rapids Herald-Review
Published: Saturday, March 7, 2009 3:06 PM CST

The helicopter crash which killed Grand Rapids native Chief Warrant Officer Philip Windorski near Kirkuk, Iraq in late January was found to be a result of enemy fire, according to an Army investigation.

“The two OH-58D helicopters were engaged and struck by hostile fire while conducting a reconnaissance mission,” said Julie Cupernall, deputy public affairs officer for Fort Drum, N.Y., via a phone interview.

Two Kiowa Warrior helicopters collided with each other on Jan. 26, killing Windorski along with three other soldiers. Both helicopters were also destroyed. Initial reports from the Army said the crash was not caused by enemy fire. Cupernall said this information was not issued to mislead, that preliminary investigation did not show enemy fire was involved. She said the U.S. Army Aircraft Shootdown Assessment Team performed the investigation.

Cupernall added that the families of the soldiers were notified before the new information was released to the public. Also killed in the crash were Joshua Tillery, 31, of Beaverton, Ore.; Matthew Kelley, 30, of Cameron, Mo.; and Benjamin Todd, 29, of Colville, Wash. All four were warrant officers in the 10th Mountain Division's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Karin Windorski, Philip’s wife, said the news was a relief for her family.

“We knew, without any doubt, how well-trained and highly professional my husband and Chief Warrant Officer Twos Tillery, Kelley and Todd were,” she said. “Having the status changed from accident to hostile fire - combat related was, in a way, a relief for us. We know that because of their training, had they been able to change the outcome of that night, they would have done so.”

Karin Windorski said that her husband was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star from the Army, and on Friday she was notified he was being posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and a third Air Medal.

She said that he loved Grand Rapids and had planned on moving back after he retired from the Army. Because he loved the community so much, the family plans on giving back through a memorial fund which was set up after his death. The family is looking at a possible scholarship fund and ways to give back to area youth sports.

“He loved to coach,” said Karin. “He coached both peewee football and Little League baseball for several years.”

"As a representative of Grand Rapids, my husband was willing to lay his life down for his country if it was asked of him,” she added. “That willingness is what made him a hero to myself, his children and his family.”

Windorski joined the Army after he graduated from Grand Rapids High School with honors in 1991. At the time of his death, he was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Donations to the fund may be made to the Philip Windorski, Jr. Memorial Fund, c/o First National Bank of Deerwood, 516 S. Pokegama Ave., Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

 

A FINAL TRIBUTE By: Renee Passal WDIO

An emotional tribute, to the ultimate sacrifice made by a Grand Rapids soldier.

It was full military honors for Chief Warrant Officer Philip Windorski Jr.

The 35-year-old helicopter pilot died in Iraq two weeks ago.

His casket was marched into the Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, past dozens of flags flowing in the wind. Members of the Patriot Guard turned out in force.

Then it was time for a special military roll call. Several comrades' names were read first. They responded with "Here, sir." Then Windorski's name was called. One of the soldiers then said, "Sir, he's no longer with us, he's gone ahead of us."

Reverend Lynn Ronsberg gave the 200+crowd a comforting sermon, emphasizing that Windorski will remain alive with memories and stories.

His commitment to his family and the service, was front and center. He leaves behind a wife, Karin, and three children.

"His wife Karin told me that he said he serves because hopefully my son won't have to," Ronsberg said.

A musical group played the popular country song "American Soldier," which moved some of the mourners to tears.

Then, the ceremony moved outside, for the traditional 21-gun salute, taps, and then the flag folding.

And finally, a special military honor for Windorski. Two helicopters made a fly-over.

Windorski's ashes will return with his wife and children to New York.

WATCH THIS VIDEO MADE BY WDIO

 

 

Civil Air Patrol Award    Not sure of the year but Phil and Bob Stein were amongst two members of the CAP that was presented with the number one squadron in the US award. We were proud, and We still are proud!!!!

Services Scheduled for February 7th, 2009

The Minnesota Memorial will be at 1300hrs (1pm) on Feb 07, 2009 at the Zion Church ( 2901 South Highway 169) in Grand Rapids, MN. If your intentions are to make the service and need help with info or directions please contact me on here and i can point the way. Rowe Funeral Home will be providing what we need for Phil to continue his mission. Any personal requests or if you need a cell number or help with the "big" town of GR you are welcome to email me at bwindorski@hotmail.com