– Click the link above to donate to “The GAV Fund” – All proceeds go directly to his family. –
A decorated special tactics airman who survived 10 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan was killed in a parachute training accident in Eloy, Ariz., on Friday, the Air Force announced.
Master Sgt. Josh Gavulic, a tactical air control party member assigned to the 17th Special Tactics Squadron at Fort Benning, Ga., leaves behind a wife and six children, according to an Air Force news release.
“Joshua was a tender warrior — fierce on the battlefield, a consummate professional whose commitment to his team was only surpassed by his love and commitment to his wife Alyssa and their wonderful children,” Lt. Col John Traxler, 17th Special Tactics Squadron commander, said in a statement. “We talked frequently of the responsibilities we hold as husbands and fathers. Those were the roles he held most dear. I loved him for that, and he personified qualities that I strive for.”
During his 16 years in the Air Force, Gavulic earned three Bronze Star medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals with Valor, two Air Force Commendation Medals and an Army Commendation Medal.
Gavulic conducted joint special operations and was trained in multiple types of infiltration techniques, including parachute operations, according to the news release. Friday’s accident, which is under investigation, occurred during free fall proficiency training, a type of parachuting that requires the user to pull his or her own parachute.
Free fall allows a parachutist to control where he or she lands, which is important when trying to infiltrate an area undetected, said Maj. Craig Savage, an Air Force Special Tactics spokesman.
Gavulic, who was also a special tactics operator and Ranger, was a qualified jumpmaster, the Air Force said.
As a TACP, Gavulic expertly planned and controlled air combat resources for joint operations. He also operated and supervised communications networks to support ground maneuver elements, according to the release.
He was driven by his desire to serve God, his family and his country, Traxler said in his statement. “The 17th Special Tactics community should be focused on the wealth of things that he taught us through his work, his home life, and his actions: living our lives in a manner worthy of his legacy and his values.”
On 27 November, TSgt Eduardo Rivas, his wife, and their two small children – packed up and headed out of town for Thanksgiving break. Shortly after departing Fayetteville, their vehicle hydroplaned and crashed into the guardrail. With no one injured in his vehicle, Eduardo got out to assess the damage to their car. At that time, another driver lost control and fatally struck TSgt Rivas. Unfortunately, this horrific accident played out directly in front of the entire Rivas family.
Eduardo leaves behind his loving wife Millie, his son Julian, and their daughter Valerie. As a Comm NCO, TSgt Rivas was assigned to the 682 ASOC at Pope Field, NC. He was a friend to many and a valuable member of the TACP Community.
Please consider donating to the TSgt Rivas Memorial Fund – 100% of the donations will go directly to the family.
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