Downed US Osprey, Crew’s Remains Discovered Off Japan

(Photo by STR/JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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U.S. and Japanese search and rescue teams found remains of five U.S. Air Force crew members and aircraft debris, the Air Force said in a statement Monday after the aircraft crashed on Nov. 29.

The Japanese coast guard found remains of one crew member within hours of what U.S. officials said was an emergency water landing, whom Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) later identified as 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher, the command said in a statement. The Air Force CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft went down with eight on board during a routine training exercise, with the Japanese recovery efforts initially pulling gray-colored debris from the water thought to be from the aircraft initially.

Ships and dive teams drew up the Osprey’s main fuselage from the waters near Yakushima, Japan, in Monday’s “breakthrough,” AFSOC said.

“The coalition of military, coast guard, law enforcement, mariners and local volunteers remain steadfast in locating and bringing the U.S. service members back to their units and their families. The military has also turned to dispatching professional support for the care of the families,” AFSOC said in the statement.

“As efforts persist for the location and recovery of the entire crew, the privacy of the families and loved ones impacted by this tragic incident remains a great concern,” the statement read. (RELATED: Military Aircraft Crashes In Australia, Kills 3 Marines And Injures 20 Others)

Two of the five crew members located have been recovered as of AFSOC’s latest statement.

“There is an ongoing combined effort to recover the remaining crew members from the wreckage,” the command said. Identities of the remaining casualties have not yet been determined and will be released at a later time.”

The remaining crew members whose remains have not been found are still considered in DUSTWUN — “duty status-whereabouts unknown” — status, according to AFSOC.

Galliher was an airborne linguist assigned to the 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1, Operating Location – Alpha, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing based out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, which supports the 353rd Special Operations Wing, AFSOC said. He joined active duty in 2017, attended the Defense Language Institute’s Chinese Language Course and was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies.

“Jacob was a beloved husband, father, son, and brother as well as a model Airman who will be forever remembered for his dedication to this great nation and his fellow warriors,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Gilbert Summers, commander of 43d Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1 Commander, said in a statement.

Japan asked the U.S. to suspend CV-22 Osprey flights in the country after the accident, but the Pentagon said it has continued to fly the aircraft “only after undergoing thorough maintenance and safety checks,” Reuters reported.

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