Airman killed in Osprey crash remembered as a leader and friend

by Tommy Grant

DALTON, Mass. — 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 was remembered at his funeral on Wednesday as outstanding and a leader and a friend to many.

Jake Galliher, 24, of Pittsfield, was a husband and dad, a brother and son, with bright plans for the future, said the Rev. Christopher Malatesta at the service at the St. Agnes Parish in Dalton.

“The Air Force has core values. Jake had those values. Integrity first, service before self, excellence in all that we do,” Malatesta said. “The Air Force has defined in Jake what most of us already knew: He was outstanding and spectacular. He was fun and loveable. He was truly honorable.”

Galliher’s remains were the first to be found after the Osprey went down Nov. 29 during a training mission just off Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan. A week later, 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 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.

Most people in Galliher’s hometown will remember him growing up as a a bright-eyed, good-looking youth who was popular, smart and excelled in sports, said Malatesta, who called him a “natural-born leader and good and loyal friend.”

“He has been described by the military as being the best one percent of those who serve,” he said.

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