U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Christopher Raguso, son of marine industry writer Capt. John Raguso, was one of seven service members killed in a military helicopter crash in Iraq on Thursday. He was 39.
Raguso was killed in action during a mission serving his country in Operation Inherent Resolve, the war against ISIS, in western Iraq.
He was also a lieutenant with the New York City Fire Department with 13 years of service. Also killed in the crash was Fire Marshal Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis, according to WCBS, a New York CBS affiliate.
Raguso, who joined the New York Fire Department in 2005, had previously been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Texas and the Caribbean following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“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,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to CBS. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to their families, loved ones, and fellow service members and FDNY members.”
Raguso leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.
Raguso’s father spoke at a bunting ceremony for the two soldiers.
“My name is Capt. John Raguso. But today, I respectfully wear the silver bars of a lieutenant, my son Chris Raguso,” said John Raguso, according to another CBS article. “Chris was the consummate first responder who dedicated his life to helping others. Whether leading a squad of firefighters into a burning building, chasing a hurricane in Texas or Puerto Rico, or flying fearlessly into harm’s way to rescue a wounded soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, service to his community and his country were the unshakable building blocks during his 20-year professional career.”
“He was born to be a member of FDNY: Of this, there is no doubt,” John Raguso said. “This goal was his singular mission from the age of 19 and the fire that consumed him from within to be part of this tight-knit, blue brotherhood was bigger than anything you could ever accomplish as an individual, being part of this team. While we are totally devastated by his untimely loss as a son, a father, a husband and a community leader, we are comforted somewhat with the knowledge that he made the ultimate sacrifice, he was serving others by doing the things that he was born to do, that he was trained to do, that he loved to do and that he died to do. It is our job to keep his memory of accomplishments alive with his young girls and never, ever let them forget that their dad was a true American hero. Duty, honor and courage: These were the hallmarks of Christopher J., and, God willing, may his memory never fade.”
You can view the ceremony here.
Those who wish to do so can make a tax-deductible charitable donation to help the family at fdnyfoundation.org/donate by selecting “Children of Lt. Christopher J. Raguso” from the drop-down menu.
“Our deepest sympathies to John on this tragic loss, as well as the families of the others killed in this recent accident.