Whiteman Air Force Base Defender found dead after going missing in waters off Freeport, Texas

  • Published
  • By 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs Staff
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

A 509th Security Forces Squadron member was found dead May 4, near Surfside Beach, Texas, after going missing on Sunday.

Elijah Posana, 22, an active-duty security response team member, was on leave with family when he went missing. Airmen assigned to the 509th Security Forces Squadron protect personnel and assets of the 509th Bomb Wing and its fleet of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers.

On Sunday, Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a notification that Posana, last seen wearing a maroon shirt, was swimming approximately 100-feet from shore when an individual reported seeing him being pulled by a rip current. Watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a Coast Guard Station Freeport 29-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew.

Coast Guard and local agency crews searched over the course of 28 hours, covering approximately 100 square miles. The search was suspended May 3, according to a Coast Guard press release.

“We are deeply saddened by the outcome of the search," said Lt. Col. Devin Sproston, 509th Security Forces commander. "Every defender on our team is part of the fabric of this unit, this base and our security forces family. We held out hope until the last second that our Airman would be found alive. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and prayers are with Airman Posana’s family and friends with deepest condolences for this irreplaceable loss. We thank our brother and sister Coast Guardsmen for their valiant efforts in locating our wingman and doing their absolute best through their search efforts.”

For details on the search and rescue effort, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard’s Eighth District Public Affairs team at (504) 671-2020.