CV-22 Wreckage, Crew Remains Located in Search Off Coast of Japan

U.S. and Japanese dive teams located the sunken fuselage of the Air Force Osprey that crashed Wednesday.

A CV-22 Osprey assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command prepares to land during an aerial demonstration at Wittman Regional Airport, Wisconsin in July, 2021. [Courtesy: U.S. Air Force]

U.S. and Japanese military search teams have located the sunken fuselage and remains of five additional crewmembers who were on board an Air Force CV-22B Osprey that crashed off the coast of Japan last week, Air Force Special Operations Command said Monday.

The CV-22B assigned to the Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan went down offshore of Yakushima Island Wednesday afternoon with eight crew members on board during a routine training mission. Shortly after the mishap, the remains of one crew member were recovered.

The combined Japanese and United States teams working diligently in the search for the CV-22 aircraft that crashed 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," AFSOC said in a statement. "The dive teams were able to confirm five additional crewmembers from the original team of eight that were involved with the crash. Hours after the aircraft disappeared, Japanese first responders located and recovered the first known casualty from the crash."

The identities of the five crewmembers located Monday had not yet been confirmed. As of Monday morning, the remains of two of the five had been recovered, AFSOC said. Two crewmembers on board the aircraft at the time of the crash are listed as “duty status-whereabouts unknown.”

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” Galliher. [Courtesy: Air Force Special Operations Command]

Over the weekend, AFSOC confirmed that the remains found immediately following the mishap Wednesday were those of Air Force Staff Sergeant Jacob “Jake” Galliher, 24, who was an airborne linguist specializing in Chinese-Mandarin. 

Galliher was a direct support operator (DSO) assigned to the 43rd Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1, Operating Location – Alpha, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing based at Yokota Air Base, Japan, which supports the 353rd Special Operations Wing. DSOs fly as aircrew members during training, exercises, and real-world contingencies, AFSOC said. Galliher was a qualified DSO on the AC-130J Ghostrider, MC-130H Combat Talon II, and the CV-22B.

On Thursday, Japanese military officials announced the country’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would suspend operations of its fleet of 14 Ospreys until the cause of the crash was clarified. As of Friday, however, U.S. military operations of Ospreys remained ongoing.

“It’s currently under investigation to see exactly what happened," Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said late last week. "If the investigation concludes that there needs to be additional steps taken, we’ll certainly do that."

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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