Crash victims' remains returned to base

The remains of 106th Rescue Wing airmen Maj. Christopher Zanetis, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso and Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs arrive home March 27. The three New York Air National Guard members and four other airmen were killed March 15 when their HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq.

The remains of three New York Air National Guard members killed in a Pave Hawk helicopter crash in Iraq March 15 arrived home on Long Island Tuesday.

The airmen ― Maj. Christopher Zanetis, 37, an HH-60 pilot;, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, 39, HH-60 special missions aviation flight engineer; and Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs, 30, HH-60 special missions aviation specialist ― were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing out of Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.

In all, seven airmen were killed in the crash.

A large American flag flies from a Westhampton Beach Fire Department ladder following a dignified transfer of the repatriated remains of three airmen from 101st Rescue Squadron on Long Island March 27. (Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy/Air Force)
A large American flag flies from a Westhampton Beach Fire Department ladder following a dignified transfer of the repatriated remains of three airmen from 101st Rescue Squadron on Long Island March 27. (Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy/Air Force)

The remains of a fourth member of the 106th, Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, a Pave Hawk pilot, were taken to Florida for burial services.

Family and friends of the fallen, and hundreds of Guardsmen, attended the dignified transfer and reception, and residents lined the nearby streets.

U.S. Air Force Honor Guard members perform a dignified transfer of the repatriated remains of three airmen from 101st Rescue Squadron March 27. (Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy/Air Force)
U.S. Air Force Honor Guard members perform a dignified transfer of the repatriated remains of three airmen from 101st Rescue Squadron March 27. (Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy/Air Force)