Somber homecoming held for fallen 106th Rescue Wing airmen

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WESTHAMPTON BEACH -

It was a solemn and somber homecoming Tuesday as the bodies of three of the 106th Rescue Wing airmen who were killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq returned to Long Island.

Hundreds of fellow service members, volunteer firefighters and police officers paid tribute at a private ceremony at the Gabreski Air National Guard Base for the arrival of Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, of Commack, Technical Sgt. Dashan Briggs, of Port Jefferson Station and Capt. Christopher Zanetis, of Long Island City, Queens.

MORE: LIers remember service members killed in helicopter crash
MORE: Tribute to fallen 106th Rescue Wing airmen

They were among seven who were killed when their helicopter crashed in western Iraq nearly two weeks ago.

“They were the helping hand in someone’s time of need,” said Colonel Michael Bank, commander of the 106th Rescue Wing. “Whether it be a fire, flood, hurricane or evacuation.”

MORE: Names of all 7 airmen killed in crash in Iraq released, 4 from LI

The bodies of each of the guardsmen were escorted off of the base as hundreds of men and women stood at attention.

“Their sacrifice was not in vain. They will forever remain part of our wing family,” said spokesman Capt. Michael O'Hagan.

Information about services honoring the fallen are available at News 12’s numbers and links page.

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