NY Family Fights for Purple Hearts for Airmen Killed in 2018 Iraq Helicopter Crash – NBC New York

A household on Lengthy Island remains to be preventing to safe honor and recognition for seven airmen greater than three years after they have been killed in a helicopter crash whereas on a mission in Iraq.

Whether or not he was rescuing individuals from floodwaters, serving in struggle zones as a grasp sergeant in the Air Nationwide Guard, or saving lives as a lieutenant in the FDNY, Christopher Raguso by no means flinched in the face of hazard. March 15, 2018, was no totally different, in accordance with his dad John Raguso.

“His last words to us were ‘I’ve got to do something special today. I’ll be back tonight. We’ll talk later,'” Raguso recalled the final video name together with his son on that day. However there was no later.

Fireplace Lt. Christopher J. Raguso and Fireplace Marshal Christopher T. “Tripp” Zanetis have been amongst seven airmen killed when their U.S. HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq. The pilots did not see metal cables a whole bunch of ft in the air, strung between two towers, authorities stated.

The helicopter was utilized by the Air Pressure for fight search and rescue, and was in transit from one location to a different when it went down close to the city of Qaim in Anbar Province.

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“My wife cried for two days. That was the worst moment of my life,” Raguso stated.

His son was a 13-year veteran of the FDNY who acquired six citations for bravery and life-saving actions as a person firefighter or as a part of a unit. He additionally served as a lieutenant in the volunteer hearth division in Commack, the place he lived together with his spouse and two daughters, ages 5 and 6.

Zanetis had been with the division since 2004 and had been promoted to fireplace marshal in 2013. He was acknowledged for his bravery as a part of the investigative unit in 2014. 

The lads have been laid to relaxation with a procession match for a king and remembered as a hero of town and nation, however an honor Raguso anticipated, the Purple Coronary heart, by no means got here.

“When you’re in the military and you risk your life honorably to try to complete the mission, there is always recognition,” Raguso stated.

The Purple Coronary heart is given to service members who have been wounded or killed on account of enemy motion whereas serving in the U.S. navy. The crash in western Iraq didn’t seem like the results of enemy exercise and is below investigation, the Pentagon stated.

The Raguso household and Lengthy Island Congressman Lee Zeldin say they consider the deaths of these seven males match the standards.

“They’re flying over the skies of Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. They were putting their lives on the line and ultimately gave the ultimate sacrifice during a combat mission. So for that fact alone, the right thing to do would be to award that Purple Heart,” Zeldin stated.

Moreover, Zeldin pointed to the Air Pressure’s personal investigation of the crash which indicated that the helicopter might have hit what’s referred to as a “flytrap” — cables strung in the air in the Saddam Hussein period to stop aerial assaults on the border.

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“Sure, it was an accident, okay. It was an accident that they flew in to this flytrap. The enemy wasn’t shooting at them. So in that case, it was an accident, but it was an accident while they were on a mission,” Raguso stated.

“When someone sacrifices their life for what they believe in, and people don’t acknowledge it, I need to get them the recognition that they deserve,” Raguso added.

On Nov. 3, Zeldin and 6 different members of Congress despatched a letter to the Secretary of Protection, citing hostile overseas forces have been accountable for the flytrap and requesting Purple Hearts to be awarded to your complete crew for their bravery and dedication to their mission.

The Pentagon has but to answer the letter and didn’t reply to questions from NBC New York earlier than the publication of this story. Regardless of the reply is, Zeldin says he’ll carry on preventing for the lads to be acknowledged.

“This is a cause that isn’t going away. If the defense department decided today that they weren’t going to award Purple Heart, we’re going to mobilize more,” the Republican Congressman stated.

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