Air Force IDs Special Tactics Airman Lost Over Gulf of Mexico

Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force)
Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force)

An airman lost over the gulf of Mexico after falling out of a C-130 aircraft has been identified, the Air Force announced Saturday night.

Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was a Special Tactics combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command, according to an announcement from the 24th Special Operations Wing.

A Dallas native, Condiff was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who attended Utah Valley University and then served a two-year mission in Spokane, Washington before enlisting in the Air Force, according to the release. He joined the service in 2012 and completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan over the course of his career.

Among his qualifications, Condiff was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, and a joint terminal attack controller, according to the release. He had earned the Air Force Achievement Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with combat device.

He is survived by a wife and two daughters.

"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," U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, commander of the 23rd STS, said in a statement. "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."

Related: Search Continues for Hurlburt Airman Who Fell from C-130

Condiff departed the C-130 Nov. 5 during a planned static-line jump during training. Search efforts immediately began, with rescue teams canvassing 700 square miles of the Gulf stretching between Fort Walton Beach, Florida and Pensacola.

On Friday, the Air Force announced that the search-and-rescue mission had transitioned to a recovery effort. That effort is ongoing, officials said Saturday, with Navy and Air Force assets participating.

"The Air Force is actively investigating the incident," officials said in the release. "To preserve the integrity of the investigation, no additional details will be released until further notice."

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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