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Military jump mishap investigation complete

  • Published
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
Air Force Special Operations Command has released the results of an accident investigation that examined what caused the death of two Air Force Special Tactics Airmen during a Military Free Fall training incident on Aug. 3, 2015, near Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Tech. Sgt. Marty Bettelyoun, a combat controller, and Tech. Sgt. Timothy Officer Jr., a tactical air control party Airman, both from the 720th Operations Support Squadron, sustained non-survivable injuries following an accidental head-to-head collision during a military parachute training jump.

The investigation determined that the cause of the accident was Officer failing to see and avoid Bettelyoun, who as the lower jumper had the right of way during freefall. After the collision, both jumpers fell uncontrolled until their automatic activation devices initiated their reserve parachute canopies. Despite repeated attempts by personnel on the scene and medical professionals to resuscitate both Airmen, they later passed away from sustained injuries.

“Our hearts go out to the family members and friends of those lost in this accident," said Brig. Gen. Vincent Becklund, who led the accident investigation board and currently serves as the deputy chief of the office of security cooperation in Iraq. “This unfortunate and tragic accident resulted in the loss of two highly trained combat veterans, and we hope the findings bring closure to the loved ones of our fallen Airmen.”

Bettelyoun was a 15-year combat veteran with multiple deployments to several combat zones and sensitive areas around the world.

Officer was a 14-year combat veteran with multiple deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He earned multiple medals in combat including two Bronze Stars (one with Valor) for his actions.

Please contact Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs at (850) 884-5515 with requests for additional information.