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April, 23

AFSOC Aircraft Mishap Releases

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UPDATE 7, December 5, 2023 0900CST: After days of intensive, 24/7 search and rescue operations for eight Airmen following the CV-22 mishap off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan, the U.S. military transitioned search and rescue operations to search and recovery operations.

The transition from a rescue operation to a recovery operation occurs when the determination is made that survivors are unlikely.

The recovery operation will now focus on locating and recovering all remains and aircraft debris. Of the eight Airmen, the remains of three Airmen have been recovered, the remains of another three Airmen have been located and are in the process of being recovered, and the remains of two Airmen are still being located.

Staff Sgt. Jake Galliher’s remains were recovered Nov. 29, 2023, and the status of the seven remaining Airmen transitioned from DUSTWUN (duty status-whereabouts unknown) to deceased status and all families were notified.

Those names of the deceased are:

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey T. Hoernemann, 32, of Andover, Minnesota, was a CV-22 instructor pilot and officer in charge of training, assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Eric V. Spendlove, 36, of St. George, Utah, was a residency trained flight surgeon and medical operations flight commander assigned to the 1st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Luke A. Unrath, 34, of Riverside, California, was a CV-22 pilot and flight commander assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Terrell K. Brayman, 32, of Pittsford, New York, was a CV-22 pilot and flight commander assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zachary E. Lavoy, 33, of Oviedo, Florida, was a medical operations flight chief assigned to the 1st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake M. Turnage, 25, of Kennesaw, Georgia, was a flight engineer assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brian K. Johnson, 32, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, was a flight engineer assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and peers of all who are impacted by this mishap and loss of life,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, Air Force Special Operations Command commander. “In times like these, where service to our nation is not just a personal commitment but also a legacy woven into the fabric of our families, the depth of sorrow is immeasurable. The honorable service of these eight Airmen to this great Nation will never be forgotten, as they are now among the giants who shape our history.”

Personnel and assets across five military branches alongside our Japanese allies supported the search and rescue operations and will continue to support recovery operations.

“On behalf of all of the joint U.S. teammates actively involved in the search, we want to extend our sincere gratitude to the Government of Japan’s Self Defense Force, Coast Guard, law enforcement, mariners, and local Yakushima civilian volunteers for their tireless assistance in the search and rescue operations for our Airmen. Their selfless dedication in our time of need demonstrates the ironclad bond between our nations,” said Rear Adm. Jeromy Williams, Special Operations Command – Pacific commander. “We are resolved to locating our aircrew and bringing them home to their families.”

Units who will continue these operations include:

Japan Coast Guard

Japan Self-Defense Forces

United States Pacific Air Forces

United States Pacific Fleet

United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

Special Operations Command – Pacific

353rd Special Operations Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan

18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan

1st Special Forces Group

Support to, and the privacy of, the families and loved ones impacted by this incident remains a top priority.

Family members, military and government civilians whose lives have been impacted by recent events are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at [email protected] or 850-884-4494.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: [email protected].

“Today, we mourn the loss of our Airmen who perished in an aircraft accident off the coast of Japan. These brave American Airmen were training and honing their skills during the time of this tragic accident. Their dedication to our mission is an inspiration to us all and their loss is felt across the Department of the Air Force. Our efforts now turn to families, friends and teammates — we will honor the memory of those lost and support those who love them and miss them.” — Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall

“We will never forget the service and commitment of these Airmen. We will always honor their devotion to our country, and we will ensure the families of the fallen receive the respect, care, and support they deserve.” — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin

“I am deeply saddened by the devastating loss of eight of our brothers in arms,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. “No words can describe the sorrow felt in the wake of this tragic loss. Their unwavering dedication and sacrifice for our nation will be remembered forever. I extend my thoughts and prayers to their families, loved ones, and the entire 353rd Special Operations Wing. In this difficult time, let us come together to offer comfort and strength to one another.” — Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass

UPDATE 6, December 4, 2023 0502CST: Today, the combined Japanese and United States teams working diligently in the search for the CV-22 mishap aircraft near Yakushima, Japan, on November 29, 2023, had a breakthrough when their surface ships and dive teams were able to locate remains, along with the main fuselage of the aircraft wreckage. The dive teams were able to confirm five additional crew members from the original crew of eight that were involved in the mishap. Hours after the aircraft disappeared, Japanese first responders located and recovered the first known casualty from the mishap.

Currently two crew members of the five located today have been successfully recovered by the attending teams. There is an ongoing combined effort to recover the remaining crew members from the wreckage. The identities of the members located today have yet to be determined and will be released at a later date.

The coalition of military, coast guard, law enforcement, mariners, and local volunteers remain steadfast in locating and bringing the US Service Members back to their units and their families. The military has also turned to dispatching professional support for the care of the families. 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.

Further information on the recovery and details of the search progress will be released as it becomes available. Additional inquires and questions have been directed by officials to contact the public affairs section at United States Air Force Special Operations Command at org box: [email protected].

Additionally, for family members, military and government civilians seeking assistance whose lives have been impacted by the recent events, they are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at 850-884-4494.

UPDATE 5, December 4, 2023 0302CST: During a combined U.S.-Japanese search and rescue dive in the vicinity of Yakushima, Japan on Dec. 4, 2023, remains were discovered along with wreckage from the CV-22 mishap that occurred on Nov. 29, 2023.

Currently there is a combined effort in recovering the remains. The identities have yet to be determined at this time.

The main priority is bringing the Airmen home and taking care of their family members. Support to, and the privacy of, the families and loved ones impacted by this incident remains AFSOC’s top priority.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: [email protected].

Family members, military and government civilians seeking assistance across the command whose lives have been impacted by recent events can reach out to the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at 850-884-4494.

UPDATE 4, December 3, 2023 1511CST: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher, 24, was a native of Pittsfield, Mass. Jake entered active duty August 15, 2017 and served as a Direct Support Operator assigned to the 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1, Operating Location – Alpha, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing based out of Yokota Air Base, Japan. 43 IS Det 1 OL-A is a tenant unit in support of the 353rd Special Operations Wing.

Jake distinguished himself with honors throughout multiple training pipelines to include earning Honor Graduate of Basic Military Training, Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force’s Cryptologic Language Analyst Course and Honor Graduate of the Defense Language Institute’s Chinese Language Course.

A consummate intelligence professional and dedicated academic, Jake earned his Community College of the Air Force degree in Intelligence studies, all while actively pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies and maintaining proficiency in Chinese-Mandarin.

As a DSO, Jake was an airborne linguist specializing in Chinese-Mandarin. DSOs fly as AFSOC aircrew members during training, exercises, and real-world contingencies. Jake was a qualified DSO on the AC-130J, MC-130H, and CV-22B.

“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,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gilbert Summers, 43d Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1 Commander. “With a ready smile, Jake brought the unit together on and off-duty through humor and an inexhaustible supply of energy, whether it was on the aircraft, in the gym, or on the slopes with the team. Everywhere he went, and everyone he met, was made better for him being there. He has left an indelible mark as a devoted family man, steadfast wingman, and an irreplaceable Airman in both duty and compassion. Jacob’s tremendous legacy will live on through his beautiful family and through all of us who had the honor of knowing him.”

Prior to his assignment at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Jake was assigned to the 25th Intelligence Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Fla.

During his career, Jake was recognized with:

The Air Force Achievement Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.

At this time, search and rescue operations are still ongoing and the additional seven Airmen remain in DUSTWUN status meaning “duty status-whereabouts unknown.”

Family members, military and government civilians seeking assistance across the command whose lives have been impacted by recent events can reach out to the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at 850-884-4494.

*To ensure clarity, Staff Sgt. Galliher was assigned to the 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1, Operating Location – Alpha, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing based out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, NOT Kadena Air Base as previously released.

UPDATE 3, December 2, 2023 1026CST: The Airman whose remains were recovered following the CV-22 mishap that occurred on November 29 off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan has been identified and next of kin has been notified.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher, 24, was a Direct Support Operator assigned to the 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1, Operating Location – Alpha, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan. 43 IS Det 1 OL-A is a tenant unit in support of the 353rd Special Operations Wing.

Jake is originally from Pittsfield, Mass. and enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2017.

Search and rescue operations are ongoing for the seven other Airmen on board who remain in DUSTWUN status at this time.

Support to, and the privacy of, the families and loved ones impacted by this incident remains AFSOC’s top priority.

Direct questions to [email protected]

Family members, military and government civilians seeking assistance across the command whose lives have been impacted by recent events can reach out to the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at 850-884-4494.

UPDATE 2, December 2, 2023 0934CST: The U.S. military, alongside our Japanese allies, continue an exhaustive search and rescue operation for the CV-22 crew following the mishap which occurred Nov. 29, off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan.

The current search and rescue operation consists of a combination of air, surface, and subsurface area searches of the water and coastline. Rescue assets include the USS Carl Vinson and its air wing, divers, unmanned vehicles, and search and rescue experts.

“Our focus is to enable the ongoing, extensive 24/7 search and rescue operation while we care for the family and loved ones impacted by this mishap,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, Air Force Special Operations commander. “As search and rescue operations continue, our joint force and Japanese allies stand united in our determination to bring our Air Commandos home.”

Since the mishap occurred, Japanese allies have been integral in the search for the crewmembers.

“U.S. and Japanese forces have come together in an extensive search to rescue our Airmen. We want to assure our air commandos’ families that our efforts will continue and include every possible capability at our disposal,” said Rear Adm. Jeromy Williams, Special Operations Command – Pacific commander. “We want to extend sincere gratitude to the Government of Japan’s Self Defense Force, Coast Guard, law enforcement and civilian volunteers for their tireless assistance in the search and rescue operations for our Airmen.”

Seven Airmen are in DUSTWUN status meaning “duty status-whereabouts unknown.” At this time, one set of remains has been recovered.

The search and rescue operation is ongoing and remains a top priority.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: [email protected].

UPDATE 1, December 1, 2023 0032CST: The U.S. Military, alongside the Japan Coast Guard, Japanese Self-Defense Forces, local law enforcement, and Japanese civilian volunteers, is continuing search and rescue operations for the CV-22 crew following the mishap that occurred on Nov 29 off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan.

Search and rescue operations consist of a combination of air, surface, and subsurface search of water and coastline in the vicinity of Yakushima, Japan in order to locate the crewmembers.

Seven Airmen are in DUSTWUN status meaning “duty status-whereabouts unknown.” At this time, we can confirm one set of remains has been recovered.

Our sincere gratitude to all the units and Japanese partners involved in helping us locate our Airmen.

Units involved in search and rescue operations are:

Japan Coast Guard

Japanese Self-Defense Forces

Pacific Air Forces

United States Pacific Fleet

United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

Special Operations Command Pacific

353rd Special Operations Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan

18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan

1st Special Forces Group

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: [email protected].

Initial Release, November 29, 2023 0911CST: A United States Air Force CV-22B Osprey from Yokota Air Base, Japan, assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing, was involved in an aircraft mishap while performing a routine training mission off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan with eight Airmen on board.

The crew’s conditions are unknown at this time.

Emergency personnel are on scene conducting search and rescue operations. The cause of the mishap is currently unknown.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: [email protected].




Originally published at http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3607088/afsoc-aircraft-mishap-releases/

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