Josh Harris was born on April 19, 1972, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After graduating from Davidson College with a bachelor's degree in studio art in 1994, Josh attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to pursue his master's degree in architecture. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 23, 2000, and went on active duty to begin basic training on September 7, 2000. Harris completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in November 2000, and then attended Quartermaster A School at NTC Great Lakes from November 2000 to March 2001, followed by Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from March to October 2001. He attended SEAL Qualification training from December 2001 to April 2002, and then served with SEAL Team TEN at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from April 2002 to May 2006, during which time he deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq. His final assignment was with Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck, Virginia, from May 2006 until he was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 31, 2008. Joshua Harris was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement while serving as SEAL Team TEN Golf Platoon assault team member at Naval Special Warfare Task Group-ARABIAN PENINSULA in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 12 April to 24 August 2005. Petty Officer Harris performed superbly as the sniper team leader for 10 high risk sniper overwatch missions, primary navigator, and on the initial entry team during Direct Action/Cordon and Search Operations, resulting in the capture of over 37 anti-coalition forces. Additionally, he served on the inner-ring of security for the vice president of Iraq's personal security detail. By his unswerving determination, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Petty Officer Harris reflected credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.