Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered flags on all state government buildings flown at half-staff on Monday in honor of Sergeant Briggs, Captain O'Keeffe and the New York City firefighters, Lt. Christopher J. Raguso and Christopher Tripp Zanetis. All four men were stationed at the F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.
The helicopter is used by the Air Force for combat search and rescue, and was in transit from one location to another when it went down Thursday afternoon.
The New York Times is reporting that all seven service members aboard the military helicopter that crashed in Western Iraq have died.
The crash remains under investigation, but there was no immediate sign it was caused by enemy action.
Seven American soldiers were killed as a result of falling of the military helicopter HH-60 Pave Hawk in Iraq.
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U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations in the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, commented on the incident on the record via the statement issued by CENTCOM, praising the deceased troops for their sacrifice. He was a special missions flight engineer and a volunteer firefighter in Commack where he lived with his family. He previously served in Afghanistan as a munitions system specialist with the 106th Maintenance Group, and completed missions in Texas and the Caribbean following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma previous year.
Captain O'Keeffe had been deployed to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and to Iraq. According to the statement, he recently joined the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City as an associate.
His mother, Laura Raguso, said she told her 39-year-old son, also with the 106th Rescue Unit, that she did not want him to return to Iraq on this most recent deployment. "Our sincerest condolences and sympathies to the families and friends that have been touched by this tragic event", said Col. Michael Bank, the commander of the 106th Rescue Wing.
-Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.