Special tactics airman who fell from a C-130 was dedicated to 'God, our freedoms, peace, and his family'


The brave airman who died after falling from a C-130 over the Gulf of Mexico has been identified as Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, whom his squadron commander described as "a man with deep-rooted beliefs who dedicated himself to God, our freedoms, peace, and his family."

Condiff was a special tactics combat controller assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing. He went missing no Nov. 5 after landing in the water about four miles south of Hurlburt Field, Florida, during a training jump.

"He was a devoted family man within our squadron, focused on teaching his girls to be adventurous like he was," his squadron commander Lt Col. Steven Cooper said in a news release. "This is a tragic loss to the squadron, the Special Tactics community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates at this time."

The Air Force and Navy are continuing efforts to recover Condiff after the Coast Guard suspended its search for him on Nov. 8.

Originally from Dallas, Condiff entered the two-year combat control training program immediately after he enlisted in the Air Force in 2012, according to the 24th Special Operations Wing news release. He went on to deploy to Afghanistan and Africa.

In July 2018, Major League Baseball helped Condiff surprise his pregnant wife and 3-year-old daughter at a Washington Nationals game following his second deployment to Afghanistan.

Condiff was trained as a static-line jumper, military free-fall jumper, air traffic controller, and joint terminal attack controller. His military awards include the Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device.

Prior to joining the Air Force, he attended Utah Valley University and served a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane.

Two Air Force pararescue Airmen were awarded the Silver Star Medal on Friday for saving dozens of lives during separate Afghan battles in 2018 and 2019.

Tech Sgt. Gavin Fisher and Staff Sgt. Daniel Swensen both received the third highest military award for their bravery. Fisher also received the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews the honor guards of the Chinese People's Liberation (PLA) Navy before boarding the destroyer Xining for the naval parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in Qingdao, Shandong province, China April 23, 2019. Xinhua via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government covertly moved to expel two officials from the Chinese embassy earlier this year, after they drove onto a military base, the New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The newspaper reported on Sunday that one of the two Chinese officials is believed to be an intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover.

The Chinese officials breached security at a base in Virginia this fall, and only stopped driving after fire trucks were used to block their path, the Times said.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

President Donald Trump is set to announce the withdrawal of roughly 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan as early as next week, NBC News reported on Saturday based on conversations with three current and former officials.

This would come as the US is engaged in ongoing, troubled peace talks with the Taliban. The talks resumed in early December after Trump abruptly scrapped negotiations with the Taliban in September, only to be paused again this week after an attack near Bagram Airfield on Wednesday.

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Photo: National Archives

Thomas Hoke can still recall the weather in December 1944, and the long days that followed.

The battle started on Dec. 16, but his company arrived Dec. 27 and would stay there until the battle's end, nearly a month later. By the time he arrived, snow had blanketed Germany in what was one of the biggest storms the country had seen in years.

"It was 20 below and a heavy fog encompassed the whole area," Hoke, 96, recalled from his Emmitsburg home.

The fog was to Germany's advantage because Allied aircraft were grounded, including recognizance flights, allowing the Nazis to slip in.

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West Point is investigating a hand gesture made by several cadets and midshipmen during an ESPN pre-game broadcast at the Army-Navy game Saturday after clips of the signals went viral because of their association with white power.

"West Point is looking into the matter," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "At this time we do not know the intent of the cadets."

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