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US helicopter crash in western Iraq causes fatalities: Official

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Two members also in the FDNY...   Talk about service.

 

"It is with deep regret that FDNY announces the deaths of Lieutenant Christopher J. Raguso of Division 13 in Queens and Fire Marshal Christopher T. “Tripp” Zanetis of the Bureau of Fire Investigation. Lt. Raguso and Fire Marshal Zanetis died in an American military helicopter crash in Iraq on Thursday, March 15. Lt. Raguso is a 13-year veteran of the Department; Fire Marshal Zanetis is a 10-year veteran.

“Today, we mourn the deaths of FDNY Lieutenant Christopher J. Raguso and FDNY Fire Marshal Christopher T. “Tripp” Zanetis, who were killed in an American military helicopter crash in Iraq on Thursday, March 15,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They are truly two of New York City’s bravest – running into danger to protect and defend others, both in New York City and in combat overseas. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to their families, loved ones, and fellow service members and FDNY members.”

“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,” said Commissioner Nigro. “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.”

Lieutenant Raguso was appointed as a Firefighter in March of 2005 and assigned to Ladder Company 113 in Flatbush, Brooklyn. In September, 2016, he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to Battalion 50 in Queens. On six different occasions he was cited for bravery and life-saving actions as an individual Firefighter or as part of a unit.

Fire Marshal Zanetis was appointed Firefighter in September of 2004 and assigned to Engine Company 28 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In 2007 he transferred to Ladder Company 11, located in the same firehouse. In April, 2013, he was promoted to Fire Marshal and assigned to the Bureau of Fire Investigation’s Citywide South in Brooklyn. In 2014, he was recognized for his bravery as part of an investigative unit.

Lt. Raguso and Fire Marshal Zanetis are the 1,148th and 1,149th members of the Department to make the Supreme Sacrifice in the line-of-duty. The last member of the Department to die in the line of duty was Firefighter William N. Tolley of Ladder Company 135, who died on April 20th, 2017. The last member of the Department to make the Supreme Sacrifice while in active military service was Firefighter Christian P. Engledrum, who was killed in action on November 29, 2004 in Iraq.

Currently, 62 FDNY personnel are on extended military orders in the branches of the United States Armed Forces, serving around the world. There are more than 1400 FDNY members who are military reservists or veterans."

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101st crew names released

 

I knew Tripp from Ft Rucker and Andy went through the FTU with me. Both of them were excellent Americans. Andy and his crew personally saved 33 people on day 3 of the Hurricane Harvey response. Less than 2 months ago we handed over the reins in Iraq to them, they were all eager to continue the tradition of combat rescue....that others may live.

 Until we meet again.

 

 

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The Tunnel To Towers Foundation is donating $100,000 to help pay off Raguso's mortgage and is using all additional proceeds to help pay off his family's remaining mortgage if you feel inclined.

Tunnel To Towers is an amazing organization that helps Fire Fighters and their families, more info can be found at their website below.

Link for donations: https://www.crowdrise.com/donate/project/t2traguso/tunnel2towers

Link to foundation website: https://tunnel2towers.org/

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So, this loss happened a little before I joined the site. When I did, I didn't want to put too much personally identifying info up while I was interviewing for slots, so my apologies for bringing this thread back up. But, I was wearing one of the memorial shirts for Tripp recently and it got me thinking about these guys.

I unfortunately didn't know Raguso (he worked in another Borough/Division from me and our paths never crossed), but Tripp originally worked in the firehouse (Engine 28/Ladder 11) next to mine before promoting to Fire Marshal years back. I'd only worked with him a few times on details between firehouses and caught a few jobs with him, but more knew his story from the guys he worked with more than I knew him personally. Pretty incredible dude all around, with his military service and law degree from Stanford, that was talked of very highly by the guys in his firehouse who knew him well. They all figured he was on track for a life in politics, which he sure seemed like he would have excelled at.

Anyway, the FDNY sendoffs for him and Raguso, with the Air Force also playing a big part, were great. They gave the families a lot of pride and showed a lot of love from those of us that worked alongside them. Those were followed up by memorial t-shirts for each of them, and one for Jolly 51 as a whole. One of the ones is pictured below and I thought was a cool mix of FDNY and USAF, so I figured I'd share it here.

Belated cheers to those that were lost. :jd:

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Shit, man, that's a really great article. They really did capture his personality, from what relatively little I knew of him.

Funny story: so he had come out to his firehouse back when it was still pretty rare to just be open about it. Guys broke his balls (pun intended, I guess), like they do to everyone, but they never treated him any different because that's how the majority of the department operates. We will make fun of you for anything, but we're all brothers in charge of one another's lives. He was good at his job and that's all any of us really care about. 

True to his unique form, when he was killed, he didn't want the typical FDNY funeral; lots of Catholics on the job, so usually a big mass with plenty of boozing after. He actually had a really great (and quick, by FD standards) ceremony in Washington Square Park, right in the middle of the city. It was cool and a nice departure from the normal department funerals, honestly.

But, the kicker was, the night before the funeral, his wishes were to have a celebration of life at his favorite gay bar. I actually worked at his firehouse driving 11 Truck that night so the guys that worked with him there could be off to go out. Of course, there were lots of jokes thrown about beforehand about them heading out to a gay bar. Some were hesitant about the venue; but everyone went, because it's what you do on this job for your brothers. Just picture 50+ gruff New York City firemen ranging from early 20s-mid 50s in age milling about getting ready to go out to a gay bar. I couldn't stop laughing.

But, out they went and, to a man, came back boxed, saying they had a great time. In the morning, before his funeral, the stories flowed and the hangovers kicked in, because it's just kinda how things go.

Seems like it fits his character of marching to the beat of his own drum. That article summed him up pretty nicely about who he was. Thanks for sharing. I'll pass it along to guys in his firehouse, in case they haven't seen it.

Stay safe out there.

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AIB is out.

AF Times link

Quote

The Air Force has released its investigation into the aircraft accident that left no survivors in western Iraq earlier this year, blaming pilot error and a poorly designed flight plan.

On March 15, an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter struck a galvanized steel cable after the pilot misinterpreted aircraft navigation displays, causing him to overfly the intended destination. The aircraft instead descended into an unplanned location where it struck the roughly half-inch thick cables hanging between two 341-foot high towers.

The Pave Hawk’s main rotor assembly became entangled in the cables, resulting in catastrophic damage and an unflyable condition, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released Monday.

 

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