Two Air Commandos Died After Training Accident

Two special tactics airmen assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., died from injuries sustained during an Aug. 3 military freefall training mission at near?by Eglin Air Force Base. TSgt. Timothy Officer, a tactical air control party airman, and TSgt. Marty B. Bettelyoun, a combat controller, both assigned to the 720th Operations Support Squadron, were rushed to nearby hospitals but later died from their injuries, according to an Aug. 4 Air Force Special Operations Command release. Officer and Bettelyoun “were the epitome of a special tactics airman: professional, dedicated, and prepared to give their lives in service to their country,” said Col. Wolfe Davidson, 24th SOW commander. “Our community has taken a huge loss with their deaths, and they will be sorely missed.” Both air commandos were experienced combat veterans with multiple deployments in “combat zones and sensitive areas around the world,” states the release. Officer received multiple medals for his “bravery against armed enemies” in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a Bronze Star Medal with Valor. “They were respected by their peers for not only their ability on the battlefield, but also for their incredible commitment to friends and family,” said Davidson. “In the face of this tragedy, we will honor their service and their sacrifice, and we request others respect their family’s privacy as they take it one day at a time.”