A U.S. Air Force member from the Bay State died in the Osprey crash off Japan earlier this week, according to a local police department.
Jacob “Jake” Galliher was killed during the Wednesday training mission off of Japan’s southern coast, the Pittsfield Police Department announced on Friday. The Osprey V-22 crashed into the ocean.
Of the eight crew members on the aircraft, Galliher’s body has been identified as the only crew member found so far.
The father of two grew up in western Massachusetts.
“The Pittsfield Police Department extends its condolences to the family of U.S. Air Force member Jacob ‘Jake’ Galliher, a 2017 graduate of Taconic H.S.,” Pittsfield Police wrote on social media. “Jake served his country proudly.”
Galliher leaves behind a wife, and two boys ages 2 years old and 6 weeks old. His family lives in Lanesborough in the Berkshires.
“To Jacob’s family, friends our community is mourning with you, and also the families of the other 7 who have yet to be located,” Pittsfield Police wrote.
The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but during flight it can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an airplane.
Ospreys have had a number of accidents in the past, including in Japan, where they are deployed at U.S. and Japanese military bases.
“As a father, my heart goes out to Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher’s mother and father during this difficult time,” Congressman Richard Neal said in a statement. “Any parent will tell you there is no greater pain than the pain of losing a child, and Jacob Galliher was beloved by all.
“Staff Sgt. Galliher represented our nation’s best, enlisting in the Air Force right out of high school and committing himself to serving his country,” Neal added. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his mother, father, wife, and two sons. The Pittsfield community and a grateful nation mourns the loss of Jacob Galliher.”
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the Osprey disappeared from radar a few minutes before the coast guard received the emergency call. The aircraft requested an emergency landing at the Yakushima airport about five minutes before it was lost from radar, NHK public television and other news outlets reported.
NHK quoted a Yakushima resident as saying he saw the aircraft turned upside down, with fire coming from one of its engines, and then an explosion before it fell to the sea.
U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command said in a statement that the CV-22B Osprey was from Yokota Air Base and assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing.
Japanese Vice Defense Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa said it had attempted an emergency sea landing and quoted the U.S. military as saying its pilot “did everything possible until the last minute.”
Herald wire services were used in this report.