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US Airman found dead in Japan

A display inside Misawa Air Base's main gate. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)
February 01, 2022

An active-duty U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to Misawa Air Base was found dead at an off-base residence on Jan. 28.

The Air Force announced the Airman’s death in a Jan. 28 press release and identified him as Staff Sgt. Alexander Fischer in a subsequent press release on Monday. Fischer was a Cyber Transport Systems Supervisor for the 35th Communications Squadron.

The details surrounding Fischer’s death are still unclear at this time and the incident is under investigation.

“My deepest condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Staff Sgt. Fischer. It is truly heartbreaking when we lose a teammate,” said Col. Jesse Friedel, 35th Fighter Wing and Misawa AB Installation commander. “As we take this time to reflect on this unfortunate situation, I hope Team Misawa can come together as a community. Please continue to look out for one another.”

The base announced the airman’s death in a Facebook post on Monday and called on those stationed on the base to look out for one another.

“If someone you know needs help please look out for them,” the Facebook post states. “If you need help please reach out to a friend, a wingman, your chain-of-command, or any of the helping agencies we have on base.”

Misawa Air Base is the northernmost U.S. base in Japan. The base is also the only joint service installation in the western Pacific, hosting units from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. The base also hosts units of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

The 35th Fighter Wing has been based at various U.S. military installations in Japan since its inception in 1948 and has been the host unit at Misawa Air Base since 1994.

Fischer’s death comes about two months after a U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was found dead at the ship’s homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. The sailor was identified as 20-year-old Seaman Brandon Forbes, a machinist’s mate fireman who worked in the ship’s nuclear reactor area. Forbes was reported as absent without authorization in the days leading up to his death and had failed to report for duty.

The initial investigation into Forbes’ death did not find signs of foul play.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Machinist’s Mate Fireman Brandon Forbes,” Capt. Fred Goldhammer said in a statement following his death. “He was an energetic young man who was dedicated to his duties and his shipmates onboard Ronald Reagan. The circumstances surrounding this unfortunate loss of life remain under investigation at this time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brandon’s family as we all grapple with this tragedy.”