Photo Shows Downrange Memorial to Airmen Killed in Pave Hawk Crash

The Pave Hawk community honored seven combat search-and-rescue airmen who died in western Iraq. (Facebook photo)
The Pave Hawk community honored seven combat search-and-rescue airmen who died in western Iraq. (Facebook photo)

The Pave Hawk community honored seven combat search-and-rescue airmen who died last week in western Iraq.

A photo posted on the 106th Rescue Wing's Facebook account shows a traditional helmet, boots and gear display honoring the fallen airmen. The photo was taken at an undisclosed location in Iraq, an official told Military.com.

The seven who died include 106th Rescue Wing's Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, a special missions aviation flight engineer; Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, an HH-60G pilot; Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, an HH-60G pilot; and Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, a special missions aviation flight engineer.

Also killed were the 920th Rescue Wing's Master Sgt William R. Posch, 36, a rescue specialist; and Staff Sgt. Carl P. Enis, 31, a rescue specialist; and the 38th Rescue Squadron's Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, a combat rescue officer.

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"Rest easy brothers … we have the alert," said one post from Air Force rescue pilot "Jolly Pilot" on Instagram.

The four airmen of the 106th were from Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Long Island, New York. A dignified transfer was held for Zanetis and Raguso at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Sunday.

Raguso, of Commack, N.Y., was also part of the New York Fire Department's Division 13 in Queens. Zanetis, of Long Island City and also a firefighter, joined the 106th Rescue Wing in 2008. Both were assigned to the wing's 101st Rescue Squadron.

O'Keeffe was from Center Moriches, N.Y., and Briggs from Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

The two victims from the Air Force Reserve's 920th were from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. The 920th plans to hold a memorial service March 27 at 2:33 p.m. at the base.

Enis and Posch were both serving in pararescue combat roles with the wing's 308th Rescue Squadron, known as the "Guardian Angels." Members of the 308th are currently deployed to three locations within the Middle East, officials previously told Military.com.

Posch, an 18-year Air Force veteran from Indialantic, Florida, was part of a rescue mission at sea to save two German sailors whose sailboat caught fire last July. A month later, he deployed for multiple rescue missions in Texas during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Enis, from Tallahassee, joined the 308th in 2010, the 920th said in a news release.

Weber, of the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2011. He was from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"Our hearts go out to the families and squadron teammates of our fallen," Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein posted on Twitter on Saturday. "The motto of the rescue community is, 'These things we do that others may live.' I am alive today and serving as CSAF because of them."

Goldfein was rescued in 1999 by a CSAR unit out of Moody after his F-16CJ fighter jet was shot down over Serbia during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

The Pave Hawk went down around 6:45 p.m. local time March 15 and crashed near the town of Qaim in Anbar Province near the Syrian border. Officials quoted by The Associated Press and Stars and Stripes said the helicopter was on a routine flight between two towns when the incident occurred.

The U.S.-led coalition in the area for operations against Islamic State insurgents has an outpost near Qaim to secure the border region with U.S.-backed Iraq and Syrian Democratic Forces.

U.S. Central Command officials last week said the crash does not appear to be the result of enemy activity, but remains under investigation.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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