The Air Force has identified the airman killed in Typhoon Phanfone off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, on Sept. 5 as SMSgt. James Swartz, an aerospace propulsion superintendent with the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing. Swartz was on a temporary duty assignment from Robins AFB, Ga., to Kadena AB, Japan, when the typhoon struck the island. The search for two other airmen considered “lost at sea” continued until sundown on Monday and then was temporarily suspended until sunrise, officials said. MSgt. Daniel Paschal, an aerospace propulsion craftsman with the Guard’s 116th ACW, and SSgt. Joshua Schoenhoff, an Active Duty instrument and flight control systems specialist with the 461st Air Control Wing at Robins, are still missing. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawks from Kadena’s 33rd Rescue Squadron and Japanese Coast Guard units are set to resume the search early Tuesday morning, pending weather conditions, according to Kadena and Robins officials. “Team Kadena’s thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the airmen involved in this tragic incident,” said Col. Thomas Torkelson, the 18th Wing vice commander, in a Facebook release. The 116th and 461st Air Control Wings jointly operate JSTARS ground-surveillance aircraft. “We share in the sorrow felt by these airmen’s loved ones,” said Col. Henry Cyr, 461st ACW commander. “We will do all that we can to work through this tragedy together.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.