Eight crew members lost in Osprey crash in Japan identified by U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command has confirmed the identities of the eight service members who were lost when their Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan last week. Efforts are now focused on recovering all of their bodies and the aircraft debris.

The CV-22B Osprey crashed on November 29 during a training mission, rekindling safety concerns surrounding the aircraft, which has previously been involved in multiple crashes in Japan.

On Monday, the Air Force announced that six of the eight crew members’ remains had been located, with three of those already recovered. Despite the grim news, the search for the two lost crew members is still ongoing.

“The depth of sorrow is immeasurable,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, head of Air Force Special Operations Command. “The honorable service of these eight airmen to this great nation will never be forgotten, as they are now among the giants who shape our history.”

President Joe Biden expressed his heartbreak over the loss, stating, “We owe them everything,” and added that he and First Lady Jill Biden are praying for the families and friends affected by the tragedy.

The lost crew members have been named as: Maj. Jeffrey T. Hoernemann, Maj. Eric V. Spendlove, Maj. Luke A. Unrath, Capt. Terrell K. Brayman, Tech. Sgt. Zachary E. Lavoy, Staff Sgt. Jake M. Turnage, Senior Airman Brian K. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Jacob “Jake” M. Galliher.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida conveyed his heartfelt condolences to President Biden and thanked the service members for their dedication to the peace and stability of Japan and the region.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and Japan has temporarily suspended all flights of its own fleet of 14 Ospreys. Japanese officials have raised concerns about the safety of Osprey flights and have asked the U.S. military to ensure their safety before resuming operations.

Defense Ministry Press Secretary Akira Mogi acknowledged the importance of Osprey deployment in Japan’s defense buildup but stated that further explanation, information, and verification are needed to address residents’ safety concerns.

Parts of the wreckage have been collected by Japanese vessels and are being handed over to the U.S. military for examination. Adm. Ryo Sakai, chief of staff of Japan’s navy, pledged continued support for the search and recovery efforts.

The U.S.-made Osprey is a hybrid aircraft capable of taking off and landing like a helicopter, as well as cruising much faster during flight. The Pentagon has stated that no formal request has been made to resume Osprey flights, and the U.S. military continues to fly 24 MV-22s deployed on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

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