Days of services begin for Sgt. Jacob Galliher, fallen U.S. airman from Mass.
The services for the 24-year-old U.S. Air Force member from Pittsfield who died when his aircraft went down near Japan in November will begin on Tuesday afternoon.
Jacob “Jake” Galliher was killed on Nov. 29, along with six of the seven other airmen aboard the lost Osprey V-22, whose bodies have been recovered as of Dec. 14. The eighth airman is still missing and is presumed dead, the Air Force said.
Galliher’s body arrived home in Massachusetts to Westover Air Reserve Base on Friday, Dec. 15, to a display in his honor across the region.
Veterans and mourners lined the 60-mile-plus motorcade route to Dery Funeral Home, electronic signs lit up state highways reading, “Rest in peace,” and towing equipment from Interstate Tribute was arranged in patriotic tribute just outside the base gates.
The Galliher family released a statement on Tuesday morning, ahead of his wake scheduled for later in the day.
“Our hearts are filled with love and loss as we honor our beloved Jacob today and tomorrow,” the family said.
“We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of support from those who loved Jake most, from throughout the Berkshires, from his Air Force and military family, from across Massachusetts and from around the world. Your love and support have brought us tremendous comfort, strength and solace during these unbearably difficult times.
“Jake’s life was a blessing and his memory a treasure,” his family continued.
“The way he has been honored since his tragic loss means so much to his family and we know will help his young children better understand the lasting impact their Dad had on everyone he met. We will love and honor Jacob, always.”
Friends and family are invited to attend Galliher’s wake on Dec. 19 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at St. Agnes Catholic Community at 489 Main St. in Dalton.
The wake will also be streamed by St. Agnes Catholic Community at www.saintagnescc.com and at Pittsfield Community Television at www.pittsfieldtv.org.
Galliher’s funeral will begin at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at St. Agnes, and will again be streamed on the church’s website and Pittsfield’s community television. Following the funeral will be a private internment for the family.
Galliher was a 2017 graduate of Taconic High School in Pittsfield and was “a deeply beloved member of this community,” the city said in its repatriation announcement.
He and his wife, Ivy Groshong-Galliher and their 2-year-old and 9-week-old sons, had lived on a military base in Japan prior to his death. His best friend, currently on active duty in Kadena, Japan, Victor “Tito” Cervantes, said he and Galliher had a “brotherly bond” and shared some of Groshong-Galliher’s words.
“Jacob is one of the strongest people I have ever known, he cared deeply for everyone he met and was constantly trying to get smiles and laughs out of people,” his wife wrote, according to the GoFundMe fundraiser established by Cervantes.
The Pentagon grounded its fleet of nearly 500 Osprey aircraft following the crash that killed Galliher, a move U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal told The Republican-American he commended and said was necessary to ensure safety and learn what happened.
© 2023 Advance Local Media LLC
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.