Florida Rescue wing honors legacy of fallen American heroes

  • Published
  • By Maj. Cathleen Snow
  • 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

Love never dies.

On March 1, the commander of the 920th Rescue Wing, Col. Kurt Matthews, stood before wing Airmen and families of three fallen Airmen who were lost March 15, 2018, in an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash in Anbar Province, Iraq.

“I know you all personally,” said Matthews, “To be here in front of you is daunting because it means so much. It’s such an honor for me to be able to address you here today.”

Pararescuemen Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, 31, and Master Sgt. Bill Posch, 36, were both assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron and Combat Rescue Officer Capt. Mark Weber, 29, was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, but was augmenting the 308th temporarily to bolster the wing’s deployment to Iraq.

Teammates of the fallen spent the morning performing physical training activities as their way of remembering their fallen brothers and the warriors they left behind.

“As an aviator, a helicopter pilot, my job is to get them to and from the “X”, whether it’s to rescue fighter pilots who bail out over enemy lines or to save troops injured in contact who are wounded on the battlefield. We are also the 911 for any of our sister services who need to be taken out of a bad spot,” said Matthews.

Their training pipeline is so grueling that is suffers attrition likened to Navy SEAL training.

Master Sgt. William Posch, an Indialantic, Florida, resident, was obsessed with human performance and physical fitness. He inspired his teammates to grow bigger, stronger and faster every day. He had 18 years of service, the last ten of which were with the 920th Rescue Wing. Among his decorations are the Air Medal with silver oak leaf cluster; an Aerial Achievement Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor.

Staff Sgt. Carl Enis had a passion for the outdoors, specifically hunting, fishing and spearfishing. The water was Carl’s natural environment. He was a Tallahassee, Florida, resident who joined the unit in 2010 and served for 8 years. Among his decorations are the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster; the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Capt. Mark Weber was an inspirational leader who had strong integrity and core values. He was from Bartonville, Texas. Weber graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2011 as a contracting officer, but felt a strong calling to do more.

“Thanks to the 308th for all that you are doing and what you continue to do. You’re leading the way. Thank you to the Enis, Posch and Weber families. Dr Enis, Angela, Ron, Susan, Camron. Thank you all.”

“That Others May Live Foundation for being there from moment one through now and into the future. Thanks for all you do for us and for all of those involved behind the scenes,” said Matthews.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Greg Lowdermilk, That Others May Live Foundation Vice Chairman, explained how TOMLF immediately reaches out and gives tragedy assistance to the families of fallen rescue heroes, as well as fully funds college tuition for gold-star children of fallen rescue heroes.

“Thanks to all of our donors and volunteers, we are here for everyone that is in the 920th and the rescue community,” said Lowdermilk. “It’s about you guys. It’s about supporting the Rescue Community. These guys gave the greatest gift by making the ultimate sacrifice that others may live.”

Also lost on Jolly 51 were: Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York; Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York; Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York; Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York. All four were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York.