CHICOPEE — With silence and precision, six members of an Air Force honor guard brought the silver-colored, flag-draped casket of Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher down the cargo ramp of an Air Force C-17 Friday at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee to his family.
The honor guard moved with crisp precision as the whine faded from the C-17′s engines and a bright December afternoon faded to twilight.
Galliher, 24, married to Ivy Groshong-Galliher and the father of two sons — Malcolm, 2, and Killian, 9 weeks old — was on his way home to Pittsfield.
Galliher, known as Jake, was one of eight crew members flying in an Osprey V-22, which crashed in the ocean off the coast of Japan on Nov. 29.
The sight of that casket coming off the plane being met by Galliher's family and loaded onto a hearse made an impression on Gov. Maura T. Healey, the first-term Democrat told reporters.
“Jake Galliher represents all that is good about this county. That is the fact of the matter,” Healey said.
She also pointed out that Galliher's journey home was Dec. 15, just 10 days before Christmas.
“It's just incredibly poignant. It's a time of year for reflection. a lot of celebration. It's a time of year when families typically will gather together. And to me it just drives home that for many families, now the Gallihers included, there is going to be an empty seat at the table.”
Both she and U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal spoke…