Search for two missing airmen still going on

Search operations continued early Tuesday morning for two Airmen still missing after high waves swept them out to sea Sunday.

The Japanese Coast Guard recovered Sunday the body of SMSgt. James Swartz, an aerospace propulsion superintendent with the 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.

Still listed as missing are Georgia Air National Guard member MSgt. Daniel Paschal, an aerospace propulsion craftsman with the 116th ACW, and active-duty Air Force SSgt. Joshua Schoenhoff, an instrument and flight control systems specialist with the 461st Air Control Wing at Robins AFB.

The three Airmen were on temporary duty at Kadena Air Base, and were visiting the northwest coast of the island when the incident occurred.

“Team Kadena’s thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the Airmen involved in this tragic incident,” said Col. Thomas Torkelson, 18th Wing vice commander. “This event touches every member of the Air Force family.”

HH-60 helicopters from Kadena Air Base and the Japanese Coast Guard searched for more than 24 hours from Sunday to Monday for the missing Airmen. Rough seas with 10-15 foot waves complicated rescue efforts, causing a suspension of operations between sunset and sunrise.

10:41 04 Mar , 2024