PITTSFIELD, Mass. — As the community mourns the loss of Pittsfield native Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher, new information has been released about the military aircraft crash that claimed his life last week.
On Monday, the Air Force Special Operations Command reported that Japanese and United States dive teams were able to confirm five additional crew members from the original crew of eight that were involved in the CV-22 mishap aircraft near Yakushima, Japan, on Nov. 29.
"Currently, two crew members of the five located today have been successfully recovered by the attending teams. There is an ongoing combined effort to recover the remaining crew members from the wreckage. The identities of the members located today have yet to be determined and will be released at a later date," the update reads.
"The coalition of military, coast guard, law enforcement, mariners, and local volunteers remain steadfast in locating and bringing the U.S. Service Members back to their units and their families. The military has also turned to dispatching professional support for the care of the families. As efforts persist for the location and recovery of the entire crew, the privacy of the families and loved ones impacted by this tragic incident remains a great concern."
Over the weekend, Galliher's family released a statement expressing "heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of support and condolences received from friends, community members, and the nation at large."
Galliher, 24, leaves behind a devastated family, including his beloved wife Ivy, two young sons aged 2 years and 7 weeks old, a loving family and countless friends, all of whom are grappling with this profound loss, his family wrote.
"Jake was an amazing father, son and brother dedicated to his family and friends and we look forward to telling his story when the time is right."
The Air Force confirmed that one set of remains had been found the day after the crash and announced the identification of Galliher's remains on Saturday.
Galliher entered active duty in August 2017, after graduating from Taconic High School, and served as a direct support operator assigned to the 43rd Intelligence Squadron, a tenant unit in support of the 353rd Special Operations Wing based out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.
He earned honors throughout multiple training pipelines including Honor Graduate of Basic Military Training, Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force's Cryptologic Language Analyst Course, and Honor Graduate of the Defense Language Institute's Chinese Language Course.
"A consummate intelligence professional and dedicated academic, Jake earned his Community College of the Air Force degree in Intelligence studies, all while actively pursuing his bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and maintaining proficiency in Chinese Mandarin," the Air Force wrote in an update on Sunday.
"As a DSO, Jake was an airborne linguist specializing in Chinese Mandarin. DSOs fly as AFSOC aircrew members during training, exercises, and real-world contingencies. Jake was a qualified DSO on the AC-130J, MC-130H, and CV-22B."
During his career, Galliher was recognized with the Air Force Achievement Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and Air Force Meritorious Unit Award.
"Jacob was a beloved husband, father, son, and brother as well as a model Airman who will be forever remembered for his dedication to this great nation and his fellow warriors," said Air Force Maj. Gilbert Summers, 43d Intelligence Squadron, Detachment 1 commander, said in the Air Force update.
"With a ready smile, Jake brought the unit together on and off duty through humor and an inexhaustible supply of energy, whether it was on the aircraft, in the gym, or on the slopes with the team. Everywhere he went, and everyone he met, was made better for him being there. He has left an indelible mark as a devoted family man, steadfast wingman, and an irreplaceable airman in both duty and compassion. Jacob's tremendous legacy will live on through his beautiful family and through all of us who had the honor of knowing him."
Following the announcement of his death, Taconic High School Principal Matthew Bishop, the Pittsfield Police Department, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and Gov. Maura Healey and state Veterans Services SecretaryJon Santiago issued statements of condolences.
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