Air Force’s chief operating officer has recruited a veteran of the U.S. air force to help search for a missing Airman who went missing on a flight in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Air Force Vice Chief Mike Boggs announced the hire of retired Col. Chris Lacey as an assistant chief of staff for search and rescue operations in a press release on Friday.
“We have a team of airmen who are incredibly passionate about our missions and the importance of teamwork,” Lacey said in the release.
“The Air Force is the only combat-capable nation on the planet and we want our team to play a vital role in ensuring the safe return of our men and women in uniform.
I look forward to working with Chris and the entire Air Force search and recovery team to ensure that this team is fully equipped for the next phase of this important search.
In January 2016, Lt Col Lacey was awarded the Medal of Honor for valor for saving his fellow soldiers and civilians during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Lacey has also served in the Navy and the Air Force Reserve.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
The announcement comes after an Air Force spokesman on Friday said a civilian has been recovered from the aircraft and the pilot’s body is being flown to a medical facility.
ABC News’ Steve O’Connor, John Mungare, Tom Clark and Josh Wingfield contributed to this report.