A Special Tactics Airman is missing after falling from a C-130 during a training exercise over the Gulf of Mexico.

The unintentional drop took place on the morning of November 5. The Air Commando, whose name hasn’t been released by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), was scheduled to participate, alongside fellow operators, in a static-line parachute jump. While the aircraft was approaching the designated drop zone, approximately four miles south of Hurlburt Airfield, the Air Commando fell from the aircraft under unknown circumstances.

Almost immediately, the search-and-rescue effort began. It now encompasses a 700 square mile area (from Fort Walton Beach to Pensacola).

According to AFSOC, as of November 6, the following units are involved in the search-and-rescue operation.

  • 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base
  • 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base
  • Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew
  • Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew
  • Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew
  • Two Coast Guard Station Destin 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crews
  • 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base
  • U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, Duke Field
  • U.S. Army 6th Ranger Training Battalion, Eglin Air Force Base
  • Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

In a post on social media, AFSOC said that “We appreciate the support we are receiving from our fellow services, partner agencies and the local community. We ask anyone on the water to please stay vigilant and to contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile at (251)-441-6211 if you see or suspect anything. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Airman’s family, friends and teammates during this time.”

The Special Tactics Airman was assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing (24th SOW).

Special Tactics – soon to be renamed to Special Warfare – is the Air Force’s Special Operations Forces (SOF). In terms of ground elements, they are comprised of Pararescuemen (PJ), Combat Controllers (CCT), Special Reconnaissance (SR) specialists, and Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) specialists).

We will keep you updated as the story develops.