The three were washed out to sea from the northwest coast of Okinawa at about 3:45 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to the public affairs office for the 18th wing. The incident is believed to be a result of the typhoon, which made landfall with mainland Japan today.
"An Airman that was found by the Japanese Coast Guard and pulled from the sea was later pronounced dead at a local hospital," according to the base's statement.
Helicopters from Kadena Air Base and the Japanese Coast Guard are continuing to search for the remaining two airmen, though rough seas are complicating rescue efforts, the statement said.
The names of the airmen are being withheld for 24 hours after their families are notified.
More information will be released when it becomes available, according to the Kadena Air Base.
Kadena Air Base is the home to the Air Force's largest combat wing, the 18th Wing, according to the base's website, and nearly 18,000 Americans and more than 4,000 Japanese employees and contractors work with the base.