U.S. Aircraft Crashes in Western Iraq
Yesterday at about 6:45 p.m. GMT, a U.S. HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq. The crash does not appear to be a result of enemy activity. This incident is under investigation.
"All personnel aboard were killed in the crash," said Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. "This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women face every day in service of our nations. We are thinking of the loved ones of these service members today."
An accompanying U.S. helicopter immediately reported the crash and a quick reaction force comprised of Iraqi and coalition service members secured the scene.
"We are grateful to the Iraqi security forces for their immediate assistance in response to this tragic incident," Braga said. "Iraqi security forces continue to demonstrate their professionalism, capabilities and flexibility as we continue the fight towards a lasting defeat of [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria]."
Names of the fallen will be released by the Defense Department after next of kin have been notified.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
UPDATE: Officials released the names March 17 of the airmen killed in the crash. Dead are:
-- Air Force Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base
-- Air Force Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York, assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York;
-- Air Force Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York, 106th Rescue Wing.
-- Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York, 106th Rescue Wing;
-- Air Force Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York, 106th Rescue Wing;
-- Air Force Master Sgt. William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida, assigned to the Air Force Reserve’s 308th Rescue Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida;
-- Air Force Staff Sgt. Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida, 308th Rescue Squadron.