Air Force identifies airman killed in Osprey crash; search for 7 others continues
Stars and Stripes December 2, 2023
TOKYO — The Air Force has identified an airman whose body was recovered Wednesday after a CV-22B Osprey carrying eight crew members went down in waters off southwestern Japan.
Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” Galliher, 24, of Pittsfield, Mass., was a direct support operator assigned to 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1, Operating Location — Alpha, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, according to a statement Saturday from Air Force Special Operations Command.
The seven other crew members remain DUSTWUN — duty status-whereabouts unknown — following a routine training mission aboard a tiltrotor assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, the command said.
DUSTWUN is a transitory casualty status for U.S. service members who cannot be located but have not been found dead or captured.
“Jacob was an incredible son, brother, husband, father and friend to so many,” Galliher’s family said in a statement Saturday. “His short life touched and made better the lives of hundreds, if not thousands in Pittsfield, in this region and everywhere he served. Jacob lived to serve his family, his country and the people he loved. We will in time have more to say about his life and its deep and lasting impact. For now, we are mourning and ask for privacy and prayers for his wife, his two amazing children and all of us while we grieve and prepare for his return home.”
Search-and-rescue efforts, which entered a fifth day Sunday, have so far been fruitless. They’ve included “a combination of air, surface, and subsurface search of water and coastline,” the command said.
“Searches by divers were conducted from 3:13 p.m. until 4:34 p.m. Sunday in waters off the cast near Yakushima Airport but no leads to the missing persons were found,” Japan’s 10th Regional Coast Guard said in a news release Sunday evening.
The search will continue Monday, the release added.
Two fruitless underwater searches were conducted Saturday, the coast guard said that afternoon.
Side-scan sonar captured unusual echo images of the seafloor, the service announced both Thursday and Friday. However, dives made on those days offered no clues about the missing crew members.
Galliher, who joined the Air Force in 2017, was found near an empty, 20-person life raft and what appeared to be aircraft wreckage, a coast guard spokesman said by phone hours after the crash. It’s customary in Japan for some government officials to speak to the media on condition of anonymity.
His body was returned to the U.S. military on Thursday afternoon, a coast guard news release said.
Yokota, which has hosted CV-22 Ospreys since 2018, established an emergency family assistance center to support anyone affected by the crash.
People can go to the Military and Family Readiness Center to receive 24-7 “counseling, assistance and available information” from representatives from the base chapel, mental health, public affairs and other support agencies, the 374th Airlift Wing announced this week on Facebook.