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Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Jan. 11, 2024

CV-22 Aircraft Mishap Releases

Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

UPDATE 16, January 11, 2024 1750CST:

After more than 40 days of intensive search, rescue, recovery and salvage efforts, alongside the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Self-Defense Forces, local law enforcement and Japanese civilian volunteers, the U.S. Military concluded operations following the CV-22 mishap that occurred on Nov. 29, 2023 off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan. Search, rescue and recovery operations included more than 1,000 personnel, 46 aircraft, 23 maritime vessels and 21 unmanned aerial and underwater systems searching more than 60,000 square kilometers of the ocean’s surface and 39 square kilometers of the ocean floor.

“While it is with tremendous deep regret that we were unable to find our last teammate, Maj. Eric Spendlove, the combined joint efforts of our Japanese allies and U.S. military forces has been inspiring to see the lengths our forces will go in order to attempt to bring a teammate home,” said Rear Adm. Jeromy Williams, Commander Special Operations Command Pacific. “Our main priority since the mishap has been locating and bringing our Heroes back to their families. After over a month of exhausting air, surface, sub-surface, and modeling and simulation assets, we have ruled out all identified possible options to recover our teammate. Our thoughts remain with the families and squadron mates of our CV-22 aircrew and we extend our sincerest gratitude to every asset who assisted in the search.”

Our eighth Airman, Maj. Eric “Doc” Spendlove, was not recovered and next of kin notifications were made about the conclusion of operations. We continue to offer support to all impacted by the loss of GUNDAM 22 through the Emergency Family Assistance Cell which can be contacted at afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil.

The majority of the aircraft was recovered, and Air Force Special Operations Command continues the investigation into the cause of the mishap.

“The efforts of the Joint Force and our Japanese allies since Nov 29th have been exceptional,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, Commander Air Force Special Operations Command. “As we move forward, we remain focused on supporting the families and Air Commandos impacted by the loss of GUNDAM 22, as well as completing the ongoing investigations to prevent future mishaps.”

Questions related to the investigation can continue to be directed to AFSOC at afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

UPDATE 15, December 23, 2023 1215CST:

The U.S. Navy salvage team from USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52) arrived on-station in the vicinity of Yakushima Island on Dec. 23 to join alongside the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Self-Defense Forces, local law enforcement, Japanese civilian volunteers, and other U.S. military assets to support the search, recovery and salvage efforts of the CV-22B, involved in a mishap near Yakushima, Japan on Nov. 29. 

The Salvor is a Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ship and is currently assigned to Commander Task Force 73.  

Currently, seven of our eight Airmen who were aboard have been recovered, and the primary combined Japan-U.S. effort is to locate and recover our eighth Airman.  

The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation. 

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil

 

UPDATE 14, December 12, 2023 1121CST:

The U.S. Military, alongside the Japan Coast Guard, Japan Self-Defense Forces, local law enforcement, and Japanese civilian volunteers, has been conducting intensive search, rescue and recovery operations for the CV-22 crew and aircraft debris following the mishap that occurred on Nov. 29 off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan. 

Since the outset of operations, U.S. and Japanese forces and volunteers numbering more than 1,000 military personnel and law enforcement and more than 100 local civilians have spent over 13 days on 24-hour operations in the search for and recovery of our eight Airmen. 

Currently the remains of seven Airmen have been recovered and there is a combined Japan-U.S. effort in locating and recovering the remains of our eighth Airman. 

As of Dec. 8, the entire 90 kilometers of coastline on Yakushima has been searched by foot and unmanned aerial surveillance thoroughly. Additional searches along the southern portion of Tanegashima have also been ongoing. 

46 U.S. and Japanese aircraft, 11 small unmanned aerial systems and 23 maritime vessels have searched over 50,000 square kilometers of the ocean’s surface. More than 50 U.S. and Japanese divers and 10 underwater unmanned assets have searched more than 69 square kilometers of the ocean floor. 

“We have an immense debt of gratitude for the Government of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, Coast Guard, law enforcement and civilian volunteers for their tireless assistance in the search and rescue operations for our Airmen,” said Rear Adm. Jeromy Williams, Special Operations Command – Pacific commander. “Our resolve to our teammates and their families is that we will never leave a fallen comrade. We are committed to bringing our teammates home.” 

“The dedication displayed by our teammates and allies throughout the search, rescue and recovery operations has been incredible,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, Air Force Special Operations Command commander. “The Air Commando family is eternally grateful to all who have and continue to work to reunite our fallen with their loved ones.” 

Family members, military and government civilians whose lives have been impacted by recent events are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil or 850-884-4494. 

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil

 

UPDATE 13, December 11, 2023 0800CST:

The seventh Airman whose remains were recovered Dec. 10th, 2023 following the CV-22 mishap that occurred on Nov. 29th, 2023 off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan has been identified and next of kin has been notified.  

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey “Jeff” T. Hoernemann, 32, was a native of Andover, Minnesota. Jeff received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Dakota State University and entered active duty on March 1, 2015. He served as a CV-22 Instructor Pilot and Chief of Weapons and Tactics assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.   

There is a combined Japan-U.S. effort in locating and recovering the remains of our eighth Airman.  

The main priority is returning our 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.  

Family members, military and government civilians whose lives have been impacted by recent events are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil or 850-884-4494.   

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.  

 

UPDATE 12, December 10, 2023 0607CST:

During a combined U.S.-Japanese search and rescue in the vicinity of Yakushima, Japan on Dec. 10, 2023, divers from the U.S. Navy and divers from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron recovered the remains of one of two remaining Airmen from the CV-22 mishap that occurred on Nov. 29, 2023.

The identity of the Airman has been determined but the information will not be released until next of kin notifications have been completed.

Currently there is a combined effort in locating and recovering the remains of our eighth Airman.

The main priority is bringing our 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.

Family members, military and government civilians whose lives have been impacted by recent events are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil or 850-884-4494.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

UPDATE 11, December 7, 2023 0130 CST

The three Airmen who were recovered by dive teams on Dec. 5, 2023 amongst the wreckage from the CV-22 mishap that occurred on November 29, 2023 have been identified and their next of kin have been notified.

The Airmen recovered were Capt. Terrell “Terry” K. Brayman, Staff Sgt. Jake M. Turnage, and Senior Airman Brian “Kody” Johnson.

Search and recovery operations are still ongoing to locate and recover the remains of our two Airmen, Maj. Jeffrey “Jeff” T. Hoernemann and Maj. Eric “Doc” V. Spendlove. Following personnel recovery operations, the force will turn its efforts toward salvaging the remaining aircraft debris.

The main priority continues to be bringing our Airmen home and providing support to, and the privacy of, those families and loved ones.

Family members, military and government civilians whose lives have been impacted by recent events are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil or 850-884-4494.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

UPDATE 10, December 6, 2023 2155CST:

Maj. Hoernemann
Maj. Hoernemann
Maj. Hoernemann
Maj. Hoernemann
Maj. Hoernemann
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1001

U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey “Jeff” T. Hoernemann, 32, was a native of Andover, Minnesota. Jeff received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at North Dakota State University and entered active duty on March 1, 2015. He served as a CV-22 Instructor Pilot and Chief of Weapons and Tactics assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.                                                                        

Jeff graduated with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University in 2014. He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, and went on to be a CV-22 pilot at the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida. His passion for and competence in the aircraft culminated in his application, subsequent acceptance, and eventual graduation from the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course. Prior to his assignment at Yokota Air Base, Jeff was assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field.

As Chief of Weapons and Tactics and as a CV-22 Instructor Pilot, Jeff was the unit’s subject matter expert on CV-22B employment and shouldered the responsibility for developing new tactics, techniques, and procedures.

While assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command, Jeff deployed multiple times in support of Operation FREEDOM SENTINEL.

“Jeff was a beloved husband, brother and son, as well as an outstanding pilot and instructor,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Oldham, 21st Special Operations Squadron commander. “Jeff was a true leader, SOF warrior and patriot. His character was the benchmark of officership in the United States Air Force. Jeff was the best of us. His selflessness and leadership through example have left enduring marks upon the culture and values of the members of Air Force Special Operations Command.”

During his career, Jeff was recognized with Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with “C” Device, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air and Space Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Maj. Spendlove
Maj. Spendlove
Maj. Spendlove
Maj. Spendlove
Maj. Spendlove
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1002

U.S. Air Force Maj. Eric “Doc” V. Spendlove, 36, was a native of St. George, Utah. Eric received his commission through the Health Professions Scholarship Program at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and entered active duty on July 1, 2017. He served as a Special Operations Flight Surgeon and Medical Operations Flight Commander assigned to the 1st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Eric graduated with a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2016. He completed the Aerospace Medicine Primary Course in 2017 then, the 3-year Family Medicine Residency Program at Saint Louis University in 2022.

As the Medical Operations Flight Commander, Eric directed his medical team in orchestrating a highly successful medical readiness line that improved squadron readiness by 94% and Wing readiness by 25%. Additionally, he led medical coverage for 120 geographically separated wing personnel during the largest joint combined exercise with the Republic of Korea in 5 years.

“Eric exemplified the definition of a quiet professional with steadfast devotion to his family and profession,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Pellegrino, 1st Special Operations Squadron commander. “Eric was an incredible son, husband, brother, and father. He motivated others with enthusiastic energy in moments of exhaustion yet was always a calm voice of reason during times of uncertainty. His sense of humor could lighten the darkest of times. Eric’s incredible attributes live on through his children and form his honored legacy in remembrance for those who knew him.”

Prior to his assignment at Kadena Air Base, Eric was assigned to the 375th Medical Group, Scott AFB, Illinois, as a Family Medical Resident. Preceding his residency, he was assigned as a Flight Surgeon at the 348th Air Refueling Squadron, 92d Operations Group, 92d Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. In that assignment, Eric operated as a crewmember aboard the KC-135 and UH-1 aircraft.

While assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command, Eric deployed to a number of places throughout the Indo-Pacific including Korea, Philippines, Australia, and Guam in support of special operation activities.

During his career, Eric was recognized with the Air and Space Commendation Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Maj. Unrath
Maj. Unrath
Maj. Unrath
Maj. Unrath
Maj. Unrath
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1003

U.S. Air Force Maj. Luke A. Unrath, 34, was a native of Riverside, California. Luke received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at California Polytechnic State University and entered active duty on Jan. 31, 2014. He served as a CV-22 Aircraft Commander and Flight Commander assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.  

Luke graduated with a Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering from California Polytechnic State University in 2013.

Luke started off in the U.S. Air Force as a Developmental Engineer, Astronautical Engineer at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.  In 2019, he cross-trained to become a pilot and completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Upon earning a helicopter track, Luke completed Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Fort Novosel flying the TH-1H where he earned the assignment to fly the Air Force Special Operations CV-22B Osprey. Upon completion of the CV-22B Initial and Mission Qualification Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, he was assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan as an operational mission pilot for the CV-22B in March 2022. During his time in Japan, he upgraded to Aircraft Commander. Additionally, he served as the Officer in Charge for Squadron Communications and eventually Flight Commander.

While assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, Luke served as a Liaison Officer for Special Operations Command-Pacific where his leadership and visionary efforts were critical to the successful coordination and execution of over 20 operations, activities, and investments throughout the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.

“Luke was a beloved husband, brother, and son, as well as an incredible leader and devout man of faith who embodied the core values,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Oldham, 21st Special Operations Squadron commander. “His intelligence and work ethic served as examples for the squadron. Luke was a natural leader. People gravitated toward him and would follow him due to his cool, calm demeanor and high standards. Luke was a fast learner and loved to fly. His steady hands and quick wit paired well and made for a trusted and well-respected aviator.”

During his career, Luke was recognized with the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal, Air and Space Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Capt. Brayman
Capt. Brayman
Capt. Brayman
Capt. Brayman
Capt. Brayman
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1004

U.S. Air Force Capt. Terrell “Terry” K. Brayman, 32, was a native of Pittsford, New York. Terry received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Ohio State University and entered active duty on May 23, 2014. He served as a CV-22 Aircraft Commander with duties at United States Forces Japan as the Deputy Chief of Bilateral Operations assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Terry graduated with a Bachelor’s in Astronautical Engineering from Ohio State University in 2014.  He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas and went on to be a U-28A Draco pilot at the 34th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Prior to his assignment at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan, he transitioned to the CV-22, completing the CV-22B Initial and Mission Qualification Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico in 2020.

While assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, Terry served as the Joint Special Operations Forces Aviation Planner for a Joint Task Force in support of Special Operations Command-Pacific.

“Terry was a beloved brother and son, as well as a multi-talented officer, skilled aviator, mission commander, and proven leader of teams,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Oldham, 21st Special Operation Squadron commander. “His calm and poise bore respect from his squadron mates. Terry was a naturally talented pilot and officer. His leadership qualities earned him respect from his peers on the ground and in the air.”

Terry also served as the 353rd Special Operations Wing Mission Commander for a bilateral engagement with the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces, responsible for high-visibility deterrence with a strategic ally in a critical theater. He deployed in support of two Joint Chiefs of Staff exercises and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

During his career, Terry was recognized with the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Combat Device and Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air and Space Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and NATO Meritorious Service Medal.  

TSgt Lavoy
TSgt Lavoy
TSgt Lavoy
TSgt Lavoy
TSgt Lavoy
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1005
 

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zachary E. Lavoy, 33, was a native of Oviedo, Florida. Zach entered active duty Sept. 3, 2013, and served as a Medical Operations Flight Chief assigned to the 1st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Zach distinguished himself with honors throughout multiple training pipelines to include earning Honor Graduate of Basic Military Training and Honor Graduate in the Independent Duty Medical Technician program. Additionally, he earned Senior Airman below the zone. 

Dedicated to his craft, Zach earned his Community College of the Air Force degree in Allied Health Sciences in 2022. Additionally, he contributed to multiple unit awards including the 2016 Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Award and 2019 Air Force Medical Service Medic Rodeo Team of the Year.

As the Medical Operations Flight Chief, he created emergency response plans for five combatant commands, conducting pre-deployment site surveys and establishing medical evacuation protocols, supporting the health sustainment of 1,000 personnel, generating eight overseas operations.

“Zach was a compassionate medic with a steadfast devotion to supporting the needs of those around him,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Pellegrino, 1st Special Operations Squadron commander. “He never stopped smiling and genuinely cared for his teammates. Zach was quick to make friends and sought out new experiences, often accompanied by his dog, truck, and friends. Zach treasured his fiancé, parents, and brother dearly sharing stories with them no matter where he was in the world. His eternal presence will forever be in the hearts of those he loved.”

Prior to his assignment at Kadena Air Base, Zach was assigned to 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. He deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in 2016 in support of Operations INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’s SENTINEL.

During his career, Zach was recognized with the Air Force Commendation Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air and Space Achievement Medal, and Meritorious Unit Award with One Oak Leaf Cluster. 

SSgt Turnage
SSgt Turnage
SSgt Turnage
SSgt Turnage
SSgt Turnage
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1006

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake M. Turnage, 25, was a native of Kennesaw, Georgia. Jake entered active duty on Feb. 20, 2018, and Served as a Lead Flight Engineer and Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Training assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.  

Jake earned his Community College of the Air Force degree in Aviation Operations in 2018.

After completing Basic Military Training in 2018, Jake graduated from the Basic Special Mission Aviator Course and was selected to fly on the Air Force Special Operations CV-22B Osprey. Upon completion of the CV-22B Initial and Mission Qualification Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, he was assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida as an operational special mission aviator for the CV-22B. He also deployed in support of Operation FREEDOM SENTINEL.

As a Special Missions Aviator, Jake served as a Lead Flight Engineer and the NCOIC of Training. Special Missions Aviators are responsible for mission management and flight planning, as well as flight engineer, loadmaster, and aerial gunner duties.  He was chosen to support the Air Force Weapons and Instructor School and Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course through numerous flights and attended the CV-22B Advanced Engines Course.

Additionally, as the Training Shop Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Jake helped to increase CV-22B employment flexibility and combat ready aviators for the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility across four Higher Headquarters directed missions and two Joint Chiefs of Staff directed exercises. Furthermore, he managed all Combat Arms, Survival Evasion, Resistance and Escape and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear training requirements for the squadron.

“Jake was a beloved husband, brother and son, as well as a fun-loving and dedicated Noncommissioned Officer,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Oldham, 21st Special Operations Squadron commander. “Jake’s humor and zeal were contagious. His magnetic personality was always uplifting and lightened the load of his squadron mates. He loved to fly and to learn. His enthusiasm and positive attitude inspired others every day.”

During his career, Jake was recognized with the Air and Space Commendation Medal, Air and Space Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star Device, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

SrA Johnson
SrA Johnson
SrA Johnson
SrA Johnson
SrA Johnson
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1007

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brian “Kody” Johnson, 32, was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. Kody entered active duty on Aug. 27, 2018, and served as a CV-22 Special Missions Aviator and Unit Deployment Manager assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Kody distinguished himself by earning Honor Graduate at Basic Military Training in 2018. Upon graduating BMT, Kody attended and successfully completed the Basic Special Mission Aviator Course where he would earn an assignment to fly the Air Force Special Operations CV-22B Osprey. Upon completion of the CV-22B Initial and Mission Qualification Course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, in 2020, he was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico as an Operational Special Mission Aviator for the CV-22B. Following his assignment at Cannon Air Force Base, Kody received orders to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan in December 2022 where he began working as the Unit Deployment Manager.

As a CV-22 Special Missions Aviator, Kody was an aircraft systems expert responsible for aircraft power calculations, configuration and loading, weight and balance, and aerial gunnery.

“Kody was a beloved son, brother and uncle as well as an outstanding Special Mission Aviator,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Oldham, 21st Special Operation Squadron commander. “Kody brought energy and focus into the organization. His tireless work ethic ensured that mission-essential tasks were performed correctly, on time, and without complaint. His knowledge, skill and attention to detail inspired competence and trust amongst his fellow aircrew.”

During his career, Kody was recognized with the Air Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal,  Air and Space Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

SSgt. Galliher
SSgt. Galliher
SSgt. Galliher
SSgt. Galliher
SSgt. Galliher
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 231211-N-ZZ099-1008

(Previously released) U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher, 24, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Jake entered active duty Aug. 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 Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.

 

UPDATE 9, December 6, 2023 0357CST: The remaining three Airmen who were located on Dec. 4, 2023, amongst the wreckage from the CV-22 mishap have been recovered by dive teams. Their identities have been determined but are being withheld at this time until next of kin have been notified.

Of the total eight Airmen, the remains of six have now been recovered, with two Airmen still unaccounted for. Combined recovery operations will continue to leverage all available resources to find the remaining Airmen.

The main priority continues to be bringing our Airmen home and providing support to, and the privacy of, those families and loved ones.

Family members, military and government civilians whose lives have been impacted by recent events are encouraged to contact the Emergency Family Assistance Cell at afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil or 850-884-4494.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

UPDATE 8, December 5, 2023 1907CST: The two Airmen who were recovered on Dec. 4, 2023 following the CV-22 mishap that occurred on November 29 off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan have been identified and next of kin has been notified. 

The Airmen recovered were Maj. Luke Unrath and Tech. Sgt. Zachary Lavoy. 

Search and recovery operations are still ongoing to locate and recover the remains of our two Airmen that are unaccounted for and to recover the remains of our three other Airmen that were located on Dec. 4, 2023. Following personnel recovery operations, the force will turn its efforts toward salvaging the remaining aircraft debris.

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 afsoc.efac.org@us.af.mil or 850-884-4494.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

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 850-884-4494.  

Further information will be released as it becomes available. Please direct your questions to our org box: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.  

 

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: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.  

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: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

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 afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil

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: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

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: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

 

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: afsoc.pa.org@us.af.mil.

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