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Rep. Zeldin Leads Congressional Moment of Silence in Honor of 7 Airmen Fallen in Line of Duty Last Week in Iraq

March 20, 2018
Press Release

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WASHINGTON - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) led a moment of silence on the Floor of the House of Representatives in honor of the seven service members fallen in the line of duty during a helicopter crash in western Iraq on March 15th, including four from the 106th Rescue Wing of Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, located in the First Congressional District, in Westhampton Beach, New York:

Congressman Zeldin’s remarks as prepared for delivery: 
Mr. Speaker, today, we rise to honor the service and sacrifice of seven airmen fallen in the line of duty last week on the Iraq-Syria border. 

There are no words that fully describe the profound sorrow and immense gratitude that consume us today. 

There are no words to describe the emptiness this loss leaves in the hearts of communities all across our nation.

There is, however, no shortage of ways to describe these seven servicemen - selfless, heroes, patriots, and everything we aspire to be as a people, as a nation, and as Americans.

These fallen airmen are the best of who we are. They are the embodiment of what makes this country the greatest in the world - the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our exceptional nation.

There is no doubt these brave men, and the so many who have fallen before them, are the reason we have the opportunity to stand here today, in the well of the House of Representatives, in the heart of the United States Capitol, which should always serve as a beacon of hope and freedom for so many in our country and around the world.

Each and every day these 7 Americans answered the call of duty, to defend the liberties on which our nation were founded, to defend their neighbors and communities, but most selflessly, to defend the millions of Americans they would never know. 

4 of these airmen served with the 106th Air Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach, New York, located in the First Congressional District. This amazing unit is made up the best of the best our nation has to offer with a long rich history of service and sacrifice.

Mr. Speaker, the families of these 7 great Airmen have the unwavering thanks and appreciation of every American across our country, but most of all they have our utmost respect. 

We stand shoulder to shoulder with every one of them as they go through, undoubtedly, the most difficult moment of their lives. 

Captain Andreas B. O'Keeffe, Center Moriches, New York

Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, Long Island City, New York

Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, Commack, New York

Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, Port Jefferson Station, New York

Captain Mark K. Weber, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Master Sergeant William R. Posch, Indialantic, Florida 

Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, Tallahassee, Florida

Mr. Speaker, I request that the House now observe a moment of silence in memory of these 7 dedicated, selfless and courageous airmen.