RICHARDSON, Texas (Press Release) - Hundreds of Special Tactics operators, family and friends gathered to commemorate a fallen teammate, husband, father, brother, son and man of faith during a memorial service, Dec. 21, 2019, in Richardson, Texas.
The service honored the life of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, a Special Tactics combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, who had an unplanned parachute departure from a C-130 aircraft Nov. 5, 2019, over the Gulf of Mexico.
The recovery remained an ongoing, 24-hour operation for 17 straight days as efforts were suspended on Nov. 23, 2019. Personnel across four military branches and several local government agencies supported a variety of search techniques, including underwater sonar scanning, dive operations, land patrols, and airborne surveillance.
Family members and teammates convey that anyone who had the opportunity to come across Cole would note his deep commitment to faith and devotion to his family.
“Cole was a loving and caring father, husband, brother, uncle and son,” said Todd Condiff, father of Cole. “[He] was taken a little too early for us … he died doing what he loved and he loved his brothers in the Air Force.”
The Dallas, Texas native graduated from Sachse High School in 2008. He attended Utah Valley University and later served a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spokane, Washington.
Cole enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2012 and immediately entered the two-year combat control training program.
“He was thirsty to learn every single thing he could, every single weapon system … how to be a better warrior,” said a Special Tactics operator and Cole’s teammate at the 23rd STS. “He was known for his intellect, for his ability to think outside the box during training missions and real-world missions. Cole had a reputation for being hungry, loyal and trustworthy.”
Upon completion of the rigorous pipeline, Cole was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 720th Special Tactics Group, 24th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command.
Cole was a static-line jumpmaster, military free-fall jumper, combat scuba diver, air traffic controller, and a joint terminal attack controller. As a Special Tactics combat controller, Cole was specially trained and equipped for immediate deployment into combat operations to conduct reconnaissance, global access, precision strike and personnel recovery operations.
Cole completed deployments to Africa and Afghanistan in support of national security objectives. His awards and decorations include an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with a combat device.
“Despite the chaos of war, we all appreciated Cole’s desire to find peace in his own life,” said a Special Tactics operator and Cole’s teammate at the 23rd STS. “When you talk to other people in Cole’s life, you find constant theme words such as unselfish, faithful, thirsty, loyal and willing. His willingness and ability to share peace with others helps us all find joy through our struggles.”
Cole’s teammates hold firm there are traces and attributes of him in every person he leaves behind.
“Cole definitely had the courage to be different, to stand and fight for what he believed and to find that ever so delicate balance of his loyalty for God, the team and his family,” said a Special Tactics operator and Cole’s teammate at the 23rd STS. “[He] made me a better man … He made us all better.”
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