March 19, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A Long Island City FDNY Fire Marshal was identified as one of seven airmen killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq last week.
Christopher T. “Tripp” Zanetis, 37, died on March 15 after a modified U.S. Black Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq, the Department of Defense announced on Friday.
Zanetis, a Long Island City resident who served as a captain in the Air National Guard, and was an active member of the FDNY, was part of a crew of four onboard the helicopter from the 106th Rescue Wing at New York’s Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base. The other three airmen were from Air Force bases in Florida and Georgia.
The 106th Rescue Wing, according to their website, deploys worldwide to provide combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces.
Defense officials said the helicopter was not in combat operations, and was instead ferrying troops, according to the New York Times.
Zanetis joined the 106th Rescue Wing in 2008, and was previously deployed to Iraq in 2011, according to a Facebook post from the 106th Rescue Wing. He had recently joined Debevoise & Plimpton, a Manhattan-based law firm, as an associate.
Zanetis’ FDNY career began in 2004, where he served as a firefighter for Engine Company 28 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Years later, in 2013, Zanetis was promoted to Fire Marshal and assigned to the Bureau of Fire Investigation. He was also recognized for his bravery as part of an investigative unit in 2014, according to the FDNY.
Zanetis is survived by his parents, who live in Indiana, according to the FDNY Foundation.
Christopher J. Raguso, 39, was another FDNY member in the 106th Rescue Wing who was killed in the helicopter crash. Raguso was a lieutenant, and served in Division 13 in Richmond Hill, Queens.
“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to their families, loved ones, and fellow service members and FDNY members.”
FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said Raguso and Zanetis “bravely wore two uniforms in their extraordinary lives of service.”
“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.”
The Department of Defense said the cause of the crash is under investigation.
A great loss. So very sad.