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US Air Force aircraft crashes in western Iraq

At approximately 6:45 p.m. GMT March 15, 2018, an Air Force 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.

The seven Airmen aboard the helicopter were lost in the crash: Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York; Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York; Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York; Master Sgt. William Posch, 36, of Indialanic, Florida; Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida; Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.

"I send my sincere condolences to the families, loved ones and service members who served beside the Airmen who were lost in this tragic accident. My prayers are with all those affected as we honor their lives and service together," said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in a statement on Twitter.

An accompanying U.S. helicopter immediately reported the crash and a quick reaction force comprised of Iraqi Security Forces and coalition members secured the scene.

"Our hearts go out to the families and squadron teammates of our fallen," said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein. "The motto of the rescue community is, 'these things we do that others may live.' I am alive today and serving as CSAF because of them."

"We are grateful to the Iraqi Security Forces for their immediate assistance in response to this tragic incident," said Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve director of operations. "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)."