The Pentagon on Saturday identified the seven people killed in a U.S. helicopter crash in western Iraq on Thursday.
They include two airmen from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida.
Master Sgt. William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Fla., and Staff Sgt. Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee were from the 920th Rescue Wing, assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, at Patrick.
The 308th Rescue Squadron is one of the Air Force Reserve’s elite rescue units, specializing in critical trauma care and search and rescue.
“No words can heal the pain from the loss of these true American heroes. Our deepest sympathy goes out to their families,” said Col. Kurt Matthews, commander of the 920th Rescue Wing, in a statement.
Also killed was Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colo. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
Four of the airmen were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, N.Y.:
• Capt. Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, N.Y.
• Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, N.Y.
• Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, N.Y.
• Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Posch was an 18-year veteran of the Air Force. He served the last 10 years with the 920th Rescue Wing. Among his many missions, he assisted in rescue operations in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and took part in a long-range sea mission last July to rescue a pair of stranded German sailors.
Enis was an eight-year veteran and joined the 920th Rescue Wing in 2010.
The crew was aboard an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter, a variation on the UH-60 Black Hawk, that went down Thursday during a troop transport mission outside the Iraqi city of Qaim in Anbar Province, Pentagon officials said.
It was believed the aircraft struck a power line, one U.S. official told ABC News on Friday. The incident remains under investigation, but officials do not believe it was the result of enemy fire.
A Facebook post from the 920th Rescue Wing released Saturday evening states: “We are mourning the loss of personnel aboard a U.S. HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter who died when it crashed in Iraq March 15. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen as we patiently await until they have all been notified and have had time to process this tragedy before their names are released to the public. These things we do, that others may live.”
All seven U.S. servicemen aboard the aircraft died in the crash, officials reported.
“This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women face every day in service of our nations,” said Brig. General Jonathan Braga of the Combined Joint Task Force, in a statement. “We are thinking of the loved ones of these service members today.”
President Trump offered condolences to the victims’ families in a Tweet on Friday: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the brave troops lost in the helicopter crash on the Iraq-Syria border yesterday. Their sacrifice in service to our country will never be forgotten.”
The New York Times reported Friday that two New York City firefighters — Raguso and Zanetis — were among the dead. Raguso and Zanetis were deployed as part of the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, based on Long Island.
Two other Americans have died in Iraq in noncombat incidents since the first of the year. Thursday’s incident marks the first fatal U.S. helicopter crash in the region since U.S. forces began fighting ISIS there in 2014.
U.S.-led Coalition forces have an outpost in Qaim, about 20 miles from the Syrian border. It serves as a base of operations to secure the border and prevent insurgents from moving through the region.
Officials have said there were no indications the helicopter had been shot down.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Follow Eric Rogers on Twitter: @EricRogersFT