By SAM RAPPAPORT
Long Island City resident Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis, 37, was one of four New York Air National Guard Members who died on March 15, when their HH-60G Pave Hawk Rescue helicopter crashed in western Iraq, according to the Department of Defense.
The four men, who were based out of the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach, were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, which targets the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The men were part of a seven-member team that included two airmen out of Florida and one from Colorado. All of the seven men died in the crash.
The Department of Defense said that the fatalities do not appear to be the result of enemy activity, but added that the incident is under investigation.
In civilian life, Zanetis worked as a fire marshal for the city’s Fire Department in its Bureau of Fire Investigation. His colleague, Christopher Raguso, 39, who also died in Thursday’s crash, was a lieutenant for the FDNY’s 13th Division in Richmond Hill.
“[Zanetis and Raguso] 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,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to their families, loved ones and fellow service members and FDNY members.”
Zanetis and Raguso had both worked for more than a decade with the FDNY.
Read more in this week’s Queens Tribune.