MSgt Chris Raguso
Died March 15, 2018
Operation Inherent Resolve
Assigned to 101st Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing, New York National Guard
Master Sergeant Chris Raguso died when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq. Capt Mark Weber, Capt Andreas O’Keeffe, Capt Christopher Zanetis, SSgt Dashan Briggs, MSgt William Posch and SSgt Carl Enis were killed in the same crash.
In 2000, Chris joined the Commack Volunteer Fire Department in New York with the hopes of one day becoming a FDNY firefighter. However, with a three year wait to join the FDNY, he decided to take an open fire-specialist position at the Air National Guard Base in New York in June, 2001. Three months later, the nation was suddenly at war and in 2004, he was deployed to Iraq as a fire protection specialist with the 106th Civil Engineering Squadron.
Once he returned home, he finally got the call from the FDNY, where he became a squad leader in charge of 25 firefighters in Manhatten. During this time, the Air Force also offered to send Chris to helicopter school if he re-enlisted, so Chris signed up for six more years before attending flight school, gunnery school, mechanic school and survival, evasion, resistance and escape, school.
In 2007, Chris met his wife, Carmela, while teaching a fire prevention class at the school she worked at. A year later, Chris was set to deploy to Afghanistan; He and Carmela married at the courthouse in December of 2008 before he left, and once he returned home in April of 2009, they had a big church wedding. Together they had two daughters, Eva and Mila, 6 and 8 years old as of Sept. 2019.
Chris went on to deploy with the 101st Rescue Squadron in support of Navy SEALS in Afghanistan and Somalia in 2015, to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017 before his last deployment in Iraq. Additionally, he continued to advance in the FDNY where he was on track to become a Captain upon his return from Iraq. Chris was a true hero, and is missed by many.
“He died a hero,” his wife, Carmela said. “Chris died for something that he really believed in, and he loved every second of it.”
MSgt Christopher Raguso was 39 years old from Commack, New York.
The original portrait was presented November 11th, 2019 to his parents John and Laura Raguso, and family in New York City, New York during a special memorial event held by the Lead the Way Fund.
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