By all rights, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso should have died in 2004 — 14 years before his helicopter went down in Iraq, killing everyone aboard, according to his dad.
In the tough, early days of the Iraq War’s insurgency, Raguso, a New York Air National Guardsman, was serving his first tour in Baghdad, said his father, John, in a Nov. 15 interview. He was near the powder keg of Sadr City, when the Mahdi army, an insurgent group, invaded his base. Raguso engaged in fierce hand-to-hand combat, his father said. Then a mortar round landed 10 feet away.
It should have detonated and killed him, John said. But it didn’t.
The bad fuse on that mortar gave Chris 14 years of extra time, his dad said — and he made the most of every bit of it. He had the chance to fall in love and get married. To become a father to two beautiful girls. To fulfill his dream of becoming a firefighter and lieutenant with the New York City Fire Department. To keep fighting for his nation. And to save hundreds of lives around the world — both civilians and his fellow troops.