The Air Force is investigating the death of Staff Sgt. Kory Wade, a medical logistician with the 48th Rescue Squadron, after his disappearance during a training exercise last week prompted a multi-day search in Arizona.
Wade, 33, of Shortsville, New York, was reported missing around 2 p.m. on June 14 while preparing to support pararescue jump training at Roosevelt Lake in central Arizona, the Air Force said. His body was found three days later, on June 17, in a local and federal search operation.
“Sergeant Wade was a model airman and consummate professional while assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron and he will be deeply missed,” 355th Wing Commander Col. Scott Mills said in a June 17 release. “Our thoughts are with Sergeant Wade’s family, friends and teammates during this difficult time.”
It’s unclear what Wade was doing at the time he went missing, or where in the Roosevelt Lake area he was found.
The 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, conducts humanitarian and combat search-and-rescue missions in the U.S. and around the world using HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. The unit often uses Roosevelt Lake to train airmen in infiltration and exfiltration procedures, weapons tactics and medical treatment.
Wade enlisted in the Air Force in 2008 and served at Osan and Kunsan air bases in South Korea, according to his public Facebook page. He arrived at Davis-Monthan in 2020.
He received several awards during his time in service, including the Air and Space Achievement Medal — a common award that recognizes those who go above and beyond in their service to the Air Force, though not necessarily in combat — and the slightly more prestigious Air and Space Commendation Medal, among other routine ribbons and medals.
Family, friends and colleagues online remembered Wade for his jokes, belly laughs and motorcycle rides.
“Kory had the best job working in a big boy’s playroom full of all kinds of watercraft, which he absolutely loved, along with the people he worked with,” his father, Mike Wade, publicly posted on Facebook. “I feel blessed with the fullest life that we shared for the short time we had.”
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.