The Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has identified the missing Special Tactics operator, who fell from a C-130 during a training exercise last Tuesday, November 5.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Cole Condiff was a Special Tactics Combat Controller (CCT) assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (23rd STS), 24th Special Operations Wing (24th SOW).
Details about the incident are still scant. At some point during a pre-planned static-line parachute drop over the Gulf of Mexico, Sgt. Condiff fell from the aircraft (AFSOC’s statement describes his exit as an “unplanned parachute departure”). Shortly thereafter, a Search-and-Rescue (SAR) operation began that would end up involving units from across the military and local and federal agencies.
As of now, Sgt. Condiff is still missing. The Air Force and the Navy have taken the lead in the recovery operation.
“Cole was a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family. He was a devoted family man within our squadron, focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was,” said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Steven Cooper, the commander of the 23rd STS. “This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time.”
According to AFSOC, Sgt. Condiff was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, and a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC). He had completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan. His awards and decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device.
Sgt. Condiff is survived by his wife, two daughters, parents, a sister and two brothers. The family made the following statement:
“Cole loved his country and was honored to serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy.
Cole had a deep faith in God. Although we mourn, it is through our faith that we take comfort in knowing we will be with him again.
He loved his family. He was a devoted husband, father, son, brother and friend. He will be greatly missed by all.
We would like to express our deepest and unending gratitude to those that have searched so diligently.
We would also like to thank those who have been and continue to stand at the ready to help serve the family in this time of crisis.
We ask for continued prayers as his wife and daughters move forward without their beloved husband and daddy.
Please pray for all of our military men, women, and families.”