The Air Force and other local emergency services on Nov. 22 suspended the active search for SSgt. Cole Condiff, the special tactics airman who fell into the Gulf of Mexico from a C-130 on Nov. 5.
For more than two weeks, USAF aircraft, airmen, and other agencies maintained a 24-hour operation searching the area for Cole. This included underwater sonar scanning, dive operations, land patrols, and airborne surveillance in an area from Destin to Pensacola in Florida.
“While this is a time of great loss across our organization, I am incredibly grateful for the response of our joint teammates, local agencies, and community partners who rallied for 17 straight days to help find our airman. We may come from different backgrounds, but we all share a common bond of service to others,” said Col. Matt Allen, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, in a release. “Although no substitute for bringing him home, I hope the commitment and resolve on display over the last few weeks provides a small measure of comfort for Cole’s loved ones. We vow to honor Cole and his family and never forget his selfless service to our nation.”
Condiff was on a routine training jump mission out of Hurlburt Field when he fell from the C-130. Search and recovery operations may start again if there’s new evidence, and Hurlburt officials are asking those in the area to remain vigilant and to stay on the lookout for items of interest, such as a parachute or other gear.