Iraq helicopter crash: FDNY members killed

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Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs

Two members of the FDNY were among the seven U.S. service members killed when their helicopter crashed in western Iraq on Thursday.

The helo, used by the Air Force for combat search and rescue, went down in Anbar Province, the Pentagon said. All crew members died.

Among them was Christopher Raguso, a lieutenant in the FDNY, according to the Commack Fire Department on Long Island, where he also volunteered.

Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis also died in the crash, the New York Post reported, citing his father.

Raguso and Zanetis were on active duty in Iraq with the Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing, based on Long Island.

The FDNY confirmed their deaths Friday evening.

"Lt. Raguso and Fire Marshal Zanetis bravely wore two uniforms in their extraordinary lives of service—as New York City Firefighters and as members of the United States Armed Forces," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement. "The hearts and prayers of the entire Department are with their loved ones and with the families of their five fellow service members who lost their lives defending our country."

Commack Fire Commissioner Pat Fazio said Raguso died doing what he loved and will never be forgotten.

"We lost seven... servicemen that fight for our country so that we can live the way we live in a war that's been going on so long now," Fazio said. "I don't know where the end is, but Chris certainly was making it his business to try to put it to an end."

Raguso was a flight engineer, according to the Commack FD. Last year, the Air National Guard deployed him to Texas in response to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey. He told KCEN TV that he took part in search-and-rescue missions in the flooded areas.

Zanetis was actually on leave from the FDNY, where he had been a fire marshal, so he could go to law school and become an attorney, the Post reported.

He graduated from Stanford Law in 2017 and began working as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York last October, according to his LinkedIn profile. He had served in the Air Force/Air National Guard for more than a decade and was an HH-60G combat search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, his profile said.

The FDNY cited Raguso for bravery and life-saving actions six times in his career. In 2014, Zanetis was recognized for his bravery as part of an investigative unit.

The military is investigating the chopper crash but said that it doesn't appear to have been shot down.