One airman has died and seven are missing following Wednesday's crash of a CV-22 Osprey aircraft off the coast of Japan; Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake Galliher, 24, was among them.
In a statement released on Friday, Galliher's family announced his passing. The man's wife Ivy and their two little sons, 21 months and seven weeks old, are the only survivors of this Pittsfield, Massachusetts, resident.
According to the statement, Jake was devoted to his loved ones and did an incredible job as a father, son, and brother. "The families of Jake's fellow crew members are also dealing with this tragedy, and we are here to support them."
According to Thursday's story in the Massachusetts Berkshire Eagle, Galliher was a military linguist who was proficient in Mandarin Chinese.
He joins the ranks of thirteen other American service members lost in Osprey crashes during the previous two years. A database maintained by the Flight Safety Foundation indicates that over 50 individuals have lost their lives in Osprey accidents since 1992.
The remains of the airman had been identified and will be returned home, according to a public Facebook post by Galliher's stepfather, Tor Krautter, who made the announcement on Friday.
On Friday morning, the Air Force said that one of the eight crew members from Japan had been found; however, they did not confirm if Galliher was the only airman to have been located. The crew had crashed while on a training flight.
The names of fallen or wounded service members are withheld by the Pentagon for a period of twenty-four hours following notification to family members.
With no idea of their whereabouts, the seven airmen who are still missing have been placed on "DUSTWUN" status by the military.
The waters and shoreline surrounding the Japanese island of Yakushima, where the tiltrotor Osprey went down, have been thoroughly searched by various search-and-rescue personnel, both military and civilian. Nobody knows what caused the accident.
Yokota Air Base, close to Tokyo, is home to the 353rd Special Operations Wing of the United States Air Force, which is where the downed crew was assigned. Ospreys, long-range transport and supply aircraft, are flown by the 21st Special Operations Squadron of the wing on disaster response and emergency airlift operations around the Pacific.
According to Sabrina Singh, the Deputy Press Secretary of the Pentagon, the squadron has ceased flying activities on Friday.
Since 2010, no mishap involving an Air Force-owned CV-22 has resulted in fatalities until Wednesday's occurrence. The last fatal crash involving an Air National Guard WC-130 occurred in 2018, killing nine members of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. This incident has the potential to become the service's deadliest since then.
After an MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in the eastern Mediterranean Sea killed five soldiers on November 10, this crash is the second fatal U.S. special operations mission in November.
In August, three U.S. Marines were killed in another crash off the coast of Australia; this is the third fatal Osprey mishap since March 2022. Krautter told the Berkshire Eagle that Galliher's family thinks the U.S. military should have grounded the fleet following this tragedy.
"How many more lives must be lost on those dreadful planes? That is the message we want to convey to anybody who will listen." And Krautter spoke.
Edited by Newsbreak Contributor Denys Shybinskiy