The Air Force on Tuesday recovered a second body after three Robins Air Force Base airmen were swept out to sea in Japan.
While the identity of the second body has not been officially released, a person close to the family said it was that of Staff Sgt. Joshua Schoenhoff.
A news release posted on the Kadena Air Force Base website confirmed that the second body was one of the missing airmen, but the identification was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Robins spokesman Roland Leach said the family of the second airman was notified Tuesday morning, but there is a 24-hour waiting period before the name is officially released.
Earlier this week, the body of Senior Master Sgt. James Swartz was identified as a casualty of the typhoon that hit the region.
Leach said there are no plans for a base memorial service until the search for the third airman concludes.
U.S. Air Force personnel discovered the second body close to the Japanese shore, about 1.5 miles south of where he was believed to be pulled out to sea Sunday by a wave from the typhoon, the release said.
A combined U.S. Air Force and Japanese search team has been looking for the missing airmen. The search conducted from ships and planes ended at sunset Tuesday. The time in Okinawa, Japan, where the incident occurred, is 13 hours ahead of Middle Georgia. That search will resume at sunrise Wednesday, according to a news release.
Meanwhile, shore-based searches will continue into the evening.
Master Sgt. Daniel Paschal remained missing late Tuesday.
Schoenhoff worked in the 461st Air Control Wing while Paschal and Swartz worked in the 116th Air Control Wing. The two wings operate the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, more commonly referred to as J-STARS. The 461st is an active-duty unit while the 116th is part of the Georgia Air National Guard.
Swartz, 51, was from Tarentum, Pennsylvania. His brother, Richard Swartz, of Ellijay, said the family was told by his brother’s fellow airmen that he dove in to save the other airmen. Richard Swartz said the group was on a walkway, similar to a dock, when a wave came from behind and swept four airmen into the sea. One of them made it back but is in critical condition, Swartz said.
He said his brother was a jet engine mechanic.
“He always had a smile on his face, and he was always helping people out,” Richard Swartz said. “He was my hero since I was a kid.”
He wasn’t sure when his brother’s body might be returned to the United States, but he said plans are that he will be buried in Perry, where he lived. He had a wife and two daughters.
J-STARS commanders are planning a news conference Wednesday to discuss the incident, according to a base news release.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.