PITTSFIELD - U.S. Air Force member Jacob Galliher, a young father from Massachusetts, was killed in theof a military Osprey aircraft off Japan on Wednesday, police confirmed Friday.
Eight airmen were on board the Osprey when it went down in the ocean near the Japanese island of Yakushima during a routine training missing, according to the U.S. Air Force. There's no word yet on what caused the crash. Japanese national broadcaster NHK said an eyewitness saw the aircraft's left engine on fire.
A U.S. defense official confirmed tothat one of the eight had died. Japan's coast guard is still searching for the other seven. The Pentagon has not released any of their names yet.
On Friday, Pittsfield Police confirmed on Facebook that airman Jacob "Jake" Galliher of Lanesborough, Massachusetts, was killed in the crash. Lanseborough borders Pittsfield.
Galliher graduated from Taconic High School in Pittsfield in 2017. He was 24 years old, according to the Berkshire Eagle, which reported Galliher was serving as a military linguist and was fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
"Jake served his country proudly," police said in their statement. "Jacob leaves behind his wife Ivy, two boys ages 2 and 6 weeks old, as well as his loving family in Lanesborough."
"His boys will grow up with amazing memories of him, knowing he loved them more than the world and knowing their daddy was not only a warrior but an incredibly special individual," his wife, Ivy, said in a post on Facebook.
Galliher's family released a statement on Saturday:
"Our family is mourning the loss of our beloved Jacob, who we have been informed died after the Osprey plane that was transporting him crashed off the coast of Japan. 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. 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."
The Osprey is a hybrid of a helicopter and a plane. It can take off and land vertically like a helicopter but then change the angle of its twin rotors to fly as a plane once it's in the air.
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