HISTORY: A Run for Valor: Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs Memorial Foundation

Dashan J. Briggs Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Dashan Briggs with wife Rebecca and their beautiful family.
The Dashan J. Briggs Memorial Foundation, Inc.

“Memorial Day is more than just a day for a barbecue,” Rebecca Briggs passionately expressed. “It’s a time for deep reflection and paying respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

In memory of the fallen, Rebecca established the Dashan Briggs Memorial Foundation. This foundation stands as a powerful testament to the valor and sacrifice of all soldiers who have laid down their lives for this nation, including her beloved husband, Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs.

Dashan Briggs graduated from Riverhead High School in 2007 and was known for his football skills and tinkering with his multiple hobby cars. During their undefeated season, he became known for his skills playing on the Riverhead football team, the Blue Waves.

After a bad football injury while playing for Morrisville College, Dashan reevaluated his future as an athlete and considered becoming a police officer. After much thought on preparing for his future and his desire to serve, he enlisted in the Air National Guard. Before entering flight school, Briggs wanted to work his way up to the specialty of pararescue.

Pararescue jumpers are sometimes deployed in the middle of the ocean, and after consulting his grandfather, Eli Briggs, Dashan was reminded that he could not swim. He began to take swim lessons at Safety Swim to acquire the mastery skills needed to attain his goal.

After Flight School, Briggs became a munitions system specialist in the Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing out of Westhampton Beach, serving with the pararescue teams.  He then married his girlfriend Rebecca and became a father to Jayden and Ava.

His first deployment was in Afghanistan. However, according to Brigg’s closest friends, the biggest highlight of his Air National Guard career was being deployed on a rescue mission in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

By 2014, ISIS gained 40% territorial control of Iraq and a third of Syria. Using these regions to plot global terror attacks, America formed an international alliance to destroy ISIS and its affiliates. In August 2014, the United States armed forces organized Operation Inherent Resolve, which targeted not only ISIS forces but also al-Qaeda and al-Nusra Front terror cells.

On March 15, 2018, Briggs and six other crew members, Capt. Mark Weber (Moody Air Force Base, Georgia), Capt.Andreas O’Keefe (Francis Gabreski Base, Westhampton, and a resident of Center Moriches), Capt. Christopher Zanetis (Francis Gabreski Base), Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso (Francis Gabreski Base, and a resident of Commack), Master Sgt. William Posch (Patrick Air Force Base, Florida), and Staff Sgt. Carl Enis (Patrick Airforce Base) were on a mission in the Anbar Province in Iraq. While in the Pave Hawk Helicopter Jolly 51, the pilot with 1,000 flight hours experience and co-pilot with 2000 hours hit a power line cable, resulting in a crash killing all crew members.

The foundation’s centerpiece is the annual 5k and one-mile fun run on the weekend leading up to Memorial Day on the Grumman runway in Calverton.

“We run for them because they can’t run for themselves,” Rebecca stated. “Each runner will get a bib of four fallen veterans, and at the end of the run, they will ring the bell three times to honor each member on the bib.”

The run proceeds and donations to the foundation fund ADT (admission, discharge, and transfer), first aid, and CPR classes for community organizations, and awards selected local students’ college scholarships.

Over $14,000 was given to college-bound students in the Riverhead and Comsewogue school districts. The future goals of the foundation include providing more funding for life skills, automotive care, and financial literacy classes for local school districts. Building on Briggs’ legacy, the Foundation aims to prevent the veterans who died in service to our country from being forgotten.

To learn how to become involved with preserving Dashan Briggs’ legacy or register for the 5K run, visit https://djbriggsfoundation.org/run-for-briggs.

RUNNING FOR BRIGGS: “We run for them because they can’t run for themselves.”Dashan Briggs Memorial Foundation