The Defense Department on Saturday released the names of seven airmen who were killed this week when their HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq.
The airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, belonged to three different units — the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York National Guard; and the Air Force Reserve’s 308th Rescue Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.
Capt. Mark Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Weber was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron.
He commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in 2011, according to information from Moody Air Force Base.
No additional information about Weber was immediately available.
Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York. O’Keeffe was assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing.
O’Keeffe was an HH-60G Pave Hawk pilot, according to the New York Guard. He 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, District of Columbia Air National Guard, and an RC-26 pilot with the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York.
He deployed to Iraq three times, and to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Texas during Hurricane Harvey.
Capt. Christopher Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York. Zanetis was assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing.
According to the New York Guard, Zanetis was an HH-60G 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 in civilian life 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 Rescue Squadron.
Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York. Raguso was assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing.
Raguso was an HH-60G special missions aviation flight engineer, according to the New York Guard. 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 as a fire protection specialist with the 106th Civil Engineering Squadron, twice to Afghanistan with the 101st Rescue Squadron, once to the Horn of Africa, and to Texas and the Caribbean for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York. Briggs was assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing.
Briggs was an HH-60G 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 as a munitions system specialist with the 106th Maintenance Group, and to Texas and the Caribbean for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as a member of the 101st.
“It is with great sadness that I report the loss of four of our wing members,” said Col. Michael Bank, the commander of the 106th Rescue Wing, in a statement. “All four of these heroes served their nation and community. Our sincerest condolences and sympathies to the families and friends that have been touched by this tragic event.”
Master Sgt. William Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida. Posch was assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron.
Posch was part of a long-range rescue mission at sea to save two German sailors whose sailboat caught fire and sunk in July 2017, according to information from the 920th Rescue Wing. A month later, he assisted on many rescues in Texas during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Posch, a pararescue craftsman, was named one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 2014.
According to information from the Air Force, Posch was recognized for leading a crisis evacuation of more than 126 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in the South Sudan capital of Juba. He also headed a 23-person team during an expeditionary combat deployment and has provided more than 1,560 hours of Combat Rescue coverage, rescuing 143 persons.
Posch’s knowledge and skill contributed to his squadron’s effectiveness by providing training for airmen and joint service personnel, according to the Air Force.
And his battlefield experience, coupled with his understanding of tactical operations, contributed to his design of schematics of a Personnel Recovery Tactical Operations Center, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of command and control of rescue and recovery operations.
He had 18 years of service, the last ten of which were with the 920th Rescue Wing. His awards and decorations include the Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster, an Aerial Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor.
Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida. Enis also was a member of the 308th Rescue Squadron.
Enis joined the unit in 2010 and served for eight years, according to the 920th Rescue Wing.
Enis was a pararescueman who also worked as a commercial real estate salesman for TLG Real Estate Services in Tallahassee, Florida, according to a family friend who spoke to Air Force Times on Friday.
Ben Wilkinson, the president and co-owner of TLG, said in a Friday interview that when he met Enis four years ago, he was struck by what a “steady” and “solid guy” Enis was, and they quickly became close friends.
“He was golden,” Wilkinson said. “He was a great guy. Carl seemed to have met more people than you could ever imagine for someone his age. Honest to God, no one ever spoke an ill word about him.”
Enis’ awards and decorations include the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
In the past two years, Enis received multiple awards, to include Airman of the Year for both the 920th Rescue Wing and Air Force Reserve Command.
The airmen were killed Thursday when their Pave Hawk crashed in western Iraq, near the town of al-Qa’im in Anbar province.
The crash does not appear to have resulted from enemy fire. The incident is under investigation, according to officials.
The incident was immediately reported by another U.S. helicopter flying with the one that crashed, and a quick-reaction force comprised of Iraqi Security Forces and coalition members was dispatched to secure the scene.
Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, spokesman for U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said in an email Friday that the Pave Hawk was deployed to AFCENT from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.