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Search for military personnel continues after Osprey crash off Japan

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  • KYODO NEWS VIA AP
                                A Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force minesweeper searches in the waters where a U.S. military Osprey aircraft crashed, off Yakushima, Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, Friday, Dec. 1.

    KYODO NEWS VIA AP

    A Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force minesweeper searches in the waters where a U.S. military Osprey aircraft crashed, off Yakushima, Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, Friday, Dec. 1.

TOKYO >> A search continued Saturday for seven missing military personnel following the crash of an Osprey off the coast of southern Japan, and a body pulled from the ocean was formally identified.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was formally identified by the the Air Force Special Operations Command on Saturday, after tributes had begun pouring in the day before.

His family issued a statement Saturday saying it was in mourning and asking for privacy and prayers for his wife, two children and other family members.

“Jacob was an incredible son, brother, husband, father and friend to so many. His short life touched and made better the lives of hundreds, if not thousands in Pittsfield, in this region and everywhere he served,” the family said. “Jacob lived to serve his family, his country and the people he loved.”

Galliher was the only crew member recovered while the others remained missing after the crash on Wednesday off Yakushima Island. Participants in the search operation Saturday included the U.S military, Japanese Self Defense Force, Coast Guard, law enforcement and civilian volunteers.

“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, Pacific commander for the Special Operations Command.

The cause of the crash, which occurred during a training mission, was under investigation.

U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command said the CV-22B Osprey was one of six deployed to Yokota Air Base, home to U.S. Forces Japan and the Fifth Air Force, and assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing.

The Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but can tilt its propellers horizontally to fly like an airplane while aloft. U.S. Osprey operations continued in Japan, but the remaining five Ospreys from the squadron involved in Wednesday’s crash weren’t flying, officials said Friday.

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