Air Force IDs Okinawa Airmen Washed Out to Sea by Typhoon Phanfone

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TOKYO -- Rough seas slowed the search early Tuesday for a missing U.S. airman — one of three swept away while taking photos near giant waves caused by Typhoon Phanfone in Japan. The body of Senior Master Sgt. James Swartz, an aerospace propulsion superintendent with the 116th Air Control Wing of Georgia Air National Guard, was recovered Sunday by the Japanese Coast Guard, USAF Kadena Air Base said in a statement. Georgia Air National Guard member Master Sgt. Daniel Paschal, an aerospace propulsion craftsman with the 116th Air Control Wing, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Schoenhoff, an instrument and flight control systems specialist with the 461st Air Control Wing, were also washed away. The unidentified body of one of the pair was recovered Tuesday.

"We share in the sorrow felt by these airmen's loved ones," said Col. Henry Cyr, 461st Air Control Wing's commander in the statement. "We will do all that we can to work through this tragedy together." The three were on temporary duty at Kadena and were visiting the northwest coast of Okinawa island. HH-60s from Kadena and Japanese Coast Guard aircraft searched the area but rough seas with 10-15 foot waves complicated the efforts for several hours beginning late Monday.



- Alastair Jamieson and Arata Yamamoto