Friends: Stanford law grad who died in Iraq helicopter crash lived remarkable life

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Tom Mullarkey is one of nine brothers and sisters and when he went missing after a day of skiing at Bear Valley Mountain Resort in Alpine County on Wednesday, his tight-knit family mobilized. (KGO-TV)

Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis, and six other soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq Thursday. Their chopper hit a power line and crashed in western Anbar province.

Zanetis, 37, was serving a tour with the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard. But, his military service was only a fraction of his resume.

He joined the New York Fire Department after 9-11, ultimately becoming a fire marshall.

In 2012, he was deployed in Afghanistan with the Air National Guard.

He was part of the team dubbed the "Fearless Four" who flew into combat to help wounded American troops.

They're credited with saving nearly 100 lives.

RELATED: Stanford law grad among 7 killed in Iraq helicopter crash

Between 2014 and 2017, Zanetis took unpaid leave from the fire department to pursue a law degree at Stanford. He was a member of the Stanford Law Veterans Organization.

That's how Stanford law student, and fellow veteran, Joe Reed came to know him. "If you're looking for someone to model your life after you couldn't do much better than Tripp," said Reed.

Stanford Law Professor Robert Weisberg said Zanetis was a brilliant young lawyer and amazing human being.

In addition to military service, firefighting and graduating law school, Weisberg said Zanetis was also an intelligence consultant for NATO.

"He'd say I'll have to miss class tomorrow, I've been summoned to Peru to do an earthquake helicopter rescue. Or, Professor Weisberg, I will have to be a day late on the paper. I can't tell you why. Let's just say it's part of my job with NATO intelligence. They just summoned me to Europe," Weisberg recalled.

He said Zanetis was so vibrant, it's hard to talk about him in the past tense.

RELATED: 7 US airmen die in helicopter crash in Iraq after hitting power line

Weiberg said Zanetis also found time to produce the law school musical.

And, he spearheaded an effort to create a permanent memorial for Stanford law students who were killed in WWII.

After graduation, Zanetis returned to New York, working in the litigation department of a private law firm.

He was a member of the National LGBT Bar Association.
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