Body of Sergeant Killed When U.S. Air Force Osprey Crashed off the Coast of Japan Is Returning Home

Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP
The body of Jacob “Jake” Galliher, 24, returns, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023 in Pittsfield, Mass.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The remains of a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant from Massachusetts who was one of eight service members lost when a CV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan are being returned home.

The body of Jacob “Jake” Galliher, 24, was expected to arrive at the Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee on Friday afternoon for transport in a procession to a funeral home in his hometown, Pittsfield.

Members of the Pittsfield police and fire departments, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, Massachusetts State Police and the Dalton American Legion Riders were to escort his body, officials said.

The Osprey went down Nov. 29 during a training mission just off Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan while on its way to Okinawa.

Galliher’s remains were the first to be found. Divers recovered the remains of the seventh of the eight crew members last Sunday.

Galliher’s family issued a statement on Dec. 2 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.”

A week after the crash, the U.S. military grounded all its Osprey V-22 aircraft after a preliminary investigation indicated something went wrong that was not human error.

The U.S.-made Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster, like an airplane, during flight.

The crash raised new questions about the safety of the aircraft, which has been involved in multiple fatal accidents over its relatively short time in service. Japan grounded its fleet of 14 Ospreys after the crash.