Editor’s note: This story was updated Dec. 2 at 12:15 p.m. to include new information from the Air Force.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jake Galliher, 24, was killed Wednesday in the CV-22 Osprey aircraft crash off the coast of Japan that has left at least one airman dead and seven missing.
Galliher’s family confirmed his death in a statement Friday. The Pittsfield, Massachusetts, native is survived by his wife Ivy and two sons, ages 2 and 7 weeks.
“Jake was an amazing father, son and brother dedicated to his family and friends,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and support are with the families of Jake’s fellow crew members who are dealing with this tragedy as well.”
The Air Force acknowledged Saturday that Galliher was the lone airman whose remains have been recovered since the eight-person crew crashed during a training mission three days earlier.
Galliher was part of a U.S. intelligence unit at Yokota Air Base in Japan that supported the special operations wing to which the downed Osprey belonged, the Air Force said Saturday. He enlisted in the Air Force in 2017.
He was a military linguist fluent in Mandarin Chinese, the Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts reported Thursday.
Galliher is the 13th U.S. service member killed in an Osprey crash in the past two years. More than 50 people have died in Osprey mishaps since 1992, according to a database maintained by the Flight Safety Foundation.
The military has declared the remaining seven airmen from the downed crew in “DUSTWUN” status, or “duty status — whereabouts unknown.”
Several military and civilian search-and-rescue units on Saturday continued scouring the water and coastline around the island of Yakushima, Japan, where the tiltrotor Osprey crashed. The cause of the mishap remains unknown.
The aircraft was assigned to the U.S. Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo. The wing’s 21st Special Operations Squadron flies the Osprey, a long-range transport and supply aircraft, on emergency airlift and disaster-response missions around the Pacific.
The squadron has stopped flight operations, Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Friday.
“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,” Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind said in a statement Saturday. “As search-and-rescue operations continue, our joint force and Japanese allies stand united in our determination to bring our air commandos home.”
Wednesday’s accident is the first fatal incident involving an Air Force-owned CV-22 since 2010. The crash may become the service’s deadliest since 2018, when nine Puerto Rico Air National Guard troops died in a WC-130 weather reconnaissance plane crash.
The crash also marks the second deadly U.S. special operations mission in November, after five soldiers died Nov. 10 in a MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Tor Krautter, Galliher’s stepfather, told the Berkshire Eagle that Galliher’s family believes the U.S. military missed an opportunity to ground the Osprey fleet after another crash off the coast of Australia killed three U.S. Marines in August — the third deadly Osprey accident since March 2022.
“The message that we want to get out to anyone that’s willing to listen, is, ‘How many more of our service members need to die on those damn planes?’” Krautter said.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.