Featured Story

Riverhead native earns posthumous promotion; funeral arrangements set

Dashan Briggs, the Riverhead native who died last week in a helicopter crash in Iraq, earned a posthumous promotion to the rank of technical sergeant, according to the New York Air National Guard.

The 30-year-old was one of four members of the 106th Rescue Wing based in Westhampton Beach to perish in the March 15 crash along the Iraq/Syria border. His previous rank was staff sergeant.

Col. Richard Goldenberg, the public affairs officer for the New York Army National Guard, confirmed the promotion and said the three other members of the 106th who died have been nominated for posthumous promotion.

Col. Goldenberg said Tech. Sgt. Briggs was the first to receive approval and official orders. It’s unclear how long it will take for the other three 106th members to receive formal approvals. The other members of the 106th who died were Capt. Christopher Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City; Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches; and Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, 39, of Commack. The Department of Defense identified the three other service members killed as Master Sgt. William Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Fla.; Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Fla.; and Capt. Mark Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Consideration for the promotions are “based on an Airman’s time in grade, years of service and military education completed in addition to the commander’s recommendation,” Col. Goldenberg said in an email.

Flowers from well-wishers have been placed at the base of the flag pole at the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach. (Credit: Dana Shaw/Southampton Press)

Funeral arrangements for Tech. Sgt. Briggs are through Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home in Riverhead. Visitation will be held Wednesday, March 28 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Westhampton Beach Volunteer Fire Department at 92 Sunset Ave. in Westhampton Beach. A service will be held Thursday, March 29 at 10 a.m. also at the Westhampton Beach Volunteer Fire Department. Interment will be at Calverton National Cemetery.

All seven service members who died in the crash arrived back in the United States Monday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

At a press conference Tuesday, members of the 106th outlined the steps taken to support the families of the fallen service members both immediately and in the long-term. Tech. Sgt. Briggs is survived by his wife Rebecca, and two children, Jayden, 2, and Ava, 1.

“Every move we make, everything we do is directly in alignment and in accordance to the wishes of the families,” said Captain Michael O’Hagan, the public affairs officer for the 106th. “We’re extremely fortunate that we have four members from our ranks that are serving as what is called family assistance representatives. Those individuals are fantastic people and they’re are working very hard to make sure that they keep us tuned in and act as the go-between and inform us of the families.”

Capt. O’Hagan said the support from the community for the 106th has been “overwhelming.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to support the family of Tech. Sgt. Briggs as well as a YouCaring page.

[email protected]