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Ceremonies Held In Honor Of Local Airmen Zanetis, Briggs Killed In Military Helicopter Crash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Ceremonies were held Thursday honoring two of the New York Air National Guardsmen killed in a military helicopter crash in Western Iraq.

The sound of bagpipes and drums filled the air near Washington Square Park, as the FDNY hosted a special procession to remember Capt. Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis.

"His tragic unexpected death has been nothing short of a nightmare I naively never knew to fear," sister Brittany Zanetis said.

Zanetis served as both a U.S. Air Force major and FDNY fire marshal.

"I had the extreme privilege of growing up and navigating adulthood in Tripp's radiant light," Brittany continued.

A fire truck draped in purple and black bunting transported his body to the park, where his parents received the flag that covered his casket and two FDNY helmets.

"Tripp could have done anything in life but what he chose was to be one of us," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nirgo said.

"It seems to me, we lost a Superman," added Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Meanwhile at Riverhead High School on Long Island, another procession was held in honor of another fallen hero who perished in the crash – Technical Sgt. Dashan Briggs.

"Dashan was a phenomenal person, he was a team player," Master Sgt. John Turner said. "Everything he did -- flying, deploying -- before his country, came his family."

The men put their lives on the line for their country and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

More: Bodies Of Local Airmen Killed In Military Helicopter Crash Return Home

According to the Defense Department, the cause of an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashing in western Iraq remains under investigation.

Officials have said there were no indications the helicopter had been shot down. In their initial statements, officials said the helicopter, which is used by the Air Force for combat search and rescue, was in transit when it went down near the town of Qaim in Anbar Province.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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