Two Air Force Reserve pararescuemen among 7 Airmen killed in Iraq helicopter crash

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Two Air Force Reserve pararescuemen, Master Sgt. William Posch, 36 and Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, 31, are among the seven Airmen killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq, March 15.

Both men were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. The squadron of elite Guardian Angel Airmen serves as highly trained rescue specialists, on and off the battlefield, providing life-saving trauma care and search and rescue as part of the 920th Rescue Wing – one of the most deployed units in the Air Force Reserve.

Also lost are: Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Capt. Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York; Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York; Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York; Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York. All four were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York.

“It is with a heavy heart that I send you this message,” said Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th RQW commander, in an email Friday morning announcing the loss to his wing of approximately 2,000 Reserve Airmen. “I am asking that the 920th Rescue Wing take an operational pause in honor of our lost brothers.”

The men died while traveling in an HH-60G Pave Hawk Helicopter when it crashed. All personnel aboard were killed in the crash. The crash did not appear to be a result of enemy activity; however, the cause of the accident is under investigation.

An accompanying U.S. helicopter immediately reported the crash and a quick reaction force comprised of Iraqi Security Forces and coalition members secured the scene.

Enis and Posch were both serving in combat roles like they have on multiple overseas deployments during their Air Force careers.

Posch, an Indialantic, Florida, resident, was part of a long-range rescue mission at sea to save two German sailors whose sailboat caught fire and sunk in July 2017. A month later, he assisted on many rescues in Texas during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. He had 18 years of service, the last ten of which were with the 920th RQW. Among his decorations were the Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster; an Aerial Achievement Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor.

Enis was a Tallahassee, Florida, resident who joined the unit in 2010 and served for eight years. Among his decorations are 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.

Currently, the flag is being flown at half-staff on Patrick AFB in remembrance of the fallen Airmen.

“No words can heal the pain from the loss of these true American heroes,” said Matthews. “You can be proud knowing that Master Sgt. Posch and Staff Sgt. Enis gave their last full measure performing their mission and serving our most noble pararescue creed: ‘These things we do, that others may live’. Our deepest sympathy goes out to their families. In the face of this tragedy, we will honor their service and sacrifice and join their loved ones in mourning the immense void left behind by the loss of these great men – our rescue brothers.”