Freefall Accident Takes Airmen's Lives

Details will be a long time coming
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2015 8:51 AM CDT
Freefall Accident Takes Airmen's Lives
Tech. Sgt. Timothy Officer Jr., left, and Tech. Sgt. Marty Bettelyoun, right, are seen in this composite photo.   (Air Force Special Operations Command)

A military freefall training exercise ended in tragedy on Monday. The Air Force Times reports Tech Sgt. Timothy A. Officer Jr. and Tech Sgt. Marty B. Bettelyoun died from the injuries they suffered during parachute training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The details of the accident itself won't be shared while the investigation is underway; the Air Force explains "accident investigations can take up to a year due to rigorous processes that ensure accuracy." What are being shared are details on the two men and the "huge loss" that their deaths bring, as the commander of their 24th Special Operations Wing puts it.

Officer, 32, was a Tactical Air Control Party airman who had been with the Air Force for 14 years. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was twice awarded the Bronze Star, one with valor. Bettelyoun, a 35-year-old father of five who spent 15 years with the Air Force, taught Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape techniques to thousands of airmen and others who faced the risk of capture. (More Air Force stories.)

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