Jacksonville Beach native among 7 killed in helicopter crash in Iraq

Friends of Fletcher High School graduate consider him a hero

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Master Sgt. William Posch was one of seven U.S. airmen killed when their helicopter crashed in Iraq Thursday. The 36-year-old grew up in Jacksonville Beach before starting his military career.

Posch was a pararescue craftsman with the Air Force Reserve Command's 308th rescue squadron at Patrick Air Force Base. 

He was also a member of the Volunteer Life Saving Corps in Jacksonville Beach and graduated from Fletcher High School, which is where he met Chris Griffith. 

"He's a good dude. All-around good guy and it shows with his success in his military career and it shows in that article you commented on my Facebook those accomplishments he has done for military and our country is stellar," Griffith said. 

Posch was one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014. He received that honor for leading a crisis evacuation of more than 120 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in the South Sudan capital of Juba.

"It's kind of a sinking in our community, a lot of friends and everybody knew him and we all are tight-knit and it's hard to think about," Griffith said.

Posh is one of two men from Florida who died in the crash of the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter Thursday during a troop transport mission in Iraq.

The other is Staff Sgt. Carl Enis from Tallahassee, 31. Both were from the 920th Rescue Wing.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, "The loss of Master Sgt. William R. Posch, Staff Sgt. Carl Enis and their fellow armed service members is devastating. The deaths of these brave men serve as a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and commitment made by our nation’s military to secure and protect the freedom we all cherish as Americans. Ann and I know Staff Sgt. Enis’ family personally, and we grieve with them today. I ask that every Floridian pause to remember Master Sgt. William R. Posch and Staff Sgt. Enis and all of those lost in this tragedy.”

Scott is ordering the lowering of flags to honor the memory of the airmen in the coming days. 

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