USAF Ends Rescue Effort, Looks to Recover Lost Combat Controller

Air Force Special Operations Command has changed its search for a missing special tactics airman into a mission to recover his body.

SSgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was a special tactics combat controller with AFSOC’s 24th Special Operations Wing, the wing said Nov. 9. He served in the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron.

Military personnel have been searching for Condiff since he fell from a C-130 over the Gulf of Mexico during a Nov. 5 static line training jump. The Air Force and Navy are still conducting recovery efforts and USAF is investigating the incident. The Coast Guard had suspended its search effort as of Nov. 8.

“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,” Lt. Col. Steven Cooper, 23rd STS commander, said in a Nov. 9 release.

Condiff, a Texas native, enlisted in 2012 and was assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla., after completing the two-year combat control training program. He was a “static line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, and a joint terminal attack controller” who deployed to Africa and Afghanistan and received two Air Force medals, according to the Air Force.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, parents, sister, and two brothers.

“This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the special tactics community and our nation,” Cooper said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and teammates at this time.”