‘Love you too!!’ Family of Andover airman killed in Osprey crash shares his last message to his mom

The family of the Andover man who was one of eight airmen killed in a crash off the shores of Japan has released a new statement and shared his text message exchange with his mother right before his final flight.

The U.S. Air Force said Tuesday that 32-year-old Maj. Jeffrey Hoernemann was among those killed when an Osprey crashed during a training mission on Nov. 29. Hoernemann was listed by the Air Force as a CV-22 instructor pilot and an officer in charge of training. He was assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

In a new statement released Thursday, Hoernemann’s family said he loved what he did.

“As we mourn, we have hope and faith that Jeff will be found soon,” the statement said. “Jeff was proud to have been chosen to fly the CV-22B Osprey. He loved to fly the hybrid aircraft and was never afraid of it. He was very happy when he got the chance to fly full-time with the Air Force. Our hearts go out to the families of Jeff’s wingmen, who are also dealing with this tragedy.”

Additionally, the family shared his last text message exchange with his mother just before that Nov. 29 flight.

The screenshot shows he texted his mother, “Today is the big day! Headed in to fly now!” When his mother wished him luck and told him to “let us know how it goes,” he replied, “Will do!”

“Love you so much,” his mother added, to which he responded, “Love you too!!”

“Jeff was a beloved husband, brother and son, as well as an outstanding pilot and instructor,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tyler Oldham, 21st Special Operations Squadron commander. “Jeff was a true leader, SOF warrior and patriot. His character was the benchmark of officership in the United States Air Force. Jeff was the best of us. His selflessness and leadership through example have left enduring marks upon the culture and values of the members of Air Force Special Operations Command.”

So far, the Air Force says the remains of three airmen have been recovered, and the remains of another three have been found and are in the process of being recovered. Meanwhile, authorities are still searching for the remains of the other two airmen.

On Wednesday, Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind also directed an operational shutdown of the CV-22 fleet amid the investigation into the Osprey crash, adding that preliminary information suggests “a potential material failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time.”