Helo Crash Kills Four New York Guardsmen

NGAUS Washington Report
March 20, 2018

Four New York Air National Guard members assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing were among the seven service members who died Thursday when the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter they were flying crashed near the city of Al-Qa’im in western Iraq.

There is no evidence of enemy action involved in the crash and the incident is under investigation, according to the Defense Department.

The Guardsmen who died were:

  • Christopher Zanetis, 37, who was a Pave Hawk pilot. He joined the 106th Rescue Wing in 2008 and was assigned to the wing’s 101st Rescue Squadron. Zanetis was a member of the New York City Fire Department and had recently joined the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City as an associate. He previously deployed to Iraq in 2011, supporting another HH-60G squadron, and Afghanistan with the 101st.
  • Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, a Pave Hawk pilot, was a full-time federal civilian employee and an Air Guardsman with the wing’s 101st Rescue Squadron. He joined the 106th Rescue Wing in 2013, after serving as an armament-systems specialist with the 113th Wing of the District of Columbia Air Guard, and as an RC-26 pilot with the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York. He deployed to Iraq three times, and to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Texas during Hurricane Harvey.
  • Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, 39, was an HH-60G special-missions aviation-flight engineer. He joined the 106th Rescue Wing in 2001 and was a member of the New York City Fire Department. He was assigned to the wing’s 101st Rescue Squadron. He previously deployed to Iraq with the 106th Civil Engineering Squadron. He also deployed twice to Afghanistan, once to the Horn of Africa, and to Texas and the Caribbean for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
  • Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs, 30, was a special-missions aviation-flight engineer. He joined the 106th Rescue Wing in 2010. He was a full-time military member with the wing and assigned to the 101st Rescue Squadron. He previously deployed to Afghanistan with the 106th Maintenance Group and to Texas and the Caribbean for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma as a member of the 101st.

“Our National Guard family mourns the loss of the seven combat search-and rescue-airmen in the HH-60 crash, including four members from the 106th Rescue Wing,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony German, the adjutant general of New York. “This loss reminds us of the tremendous risks we take in serving our nation every day.”

Also killed was Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The other two victims were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron of the Air Force Reserve at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. They were Master Sgt. William R. Posch, 36, and Staff Sgt. Carl P. Enis, 31.