- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two special forces airmen were killed in a parachute training accident in Florida on Monday.

Sgts. Timothy A. Officer, 32, and Marty Bettelyoun, 35, were injured during free-fall training at Eglin Air Force Base range, The Air Force said in a statement Tuesday, Fox News reported.

Both were rushed to local hospitals, where they later died.

The two airmen were part of a special tactics unit assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field and had both served multiple deployments in combat zones.

“Our community has taken a huge loss with their deaths, and they will be sorely missed,” said Col. Wolfe Davidson, 24th Special Operations Wing commander, The Pensacola News Journal reported. “They were respected by their peers for not only their ability on the battlefield, but also for their incredible commitment to friends and family. In the face of this tragedy, we will honor their service and their sacrifice, and we request others respect their family’s privacy as they take it one day at a time.”

Sgt. Officer, a 14-year veteran, earned multiple medals including two Bronze Star medals — one for Valor — for his bravery against armed enemies of the U.S.

Sgt. Bettelyoun was a 15-year veteran combat control specialist. He leaves behind a wife and five children.

The cause of the incident has not yet been determined. More information will be released once an accident investigation is complete, though such investigations can take up to a year due to rigorous processes that ensure accuracy.

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