Joshua “Gav” Gavulic was born on August 5, 1979. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on June 10, 1998, and after completing basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, he attended the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Apprentice Course at Hulburt Field, Florida, and the Combat Survival Training Course at Fairchild AFB, Washington. His first assignment was as a Brigade Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Operator with the 11th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) at Fort Hood, Texas, from April 1999 to December 2005; where he was then assigned to the 17th ASOS as a Ranger Company Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), and later as a Ranger Reconnaissance Company JTAC. In 2012, MSgt Gavulic assumed duties as the 17th ASOS Weapons and Tactics Flight Chief and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation. In 2013, he was promoted to the position of 17th ASOS Operations Superintendent. On February 21st, 2014, MSgt Gavulic was killed in a parachute accident while conducting a military free-fall proficiency training jump at a drop zone in Eloy, Arizona. During the War on Terrorism, MSgt Gavulic deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom 10 times between 2001 and 2014, and he completed the U.S. Army Airborne School, US Army Military Free fall School, US Army Static Line Jumpmaster Course, US Army Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Course, US Army Pathfinder School and US Army Ranger School; to name just a few. He was buried at the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery in Fort Mitchell, Alabama on 3 March 2014. MSgt Gavulic is survived by his wife Alyssa, and their six children.
His 2nd Bronze Star Medal Citation reads:
Staff Sergeant Joshua M. Gavulic distinguished himself by meritorious achievement as Joint Terminal Attack Controller, 17th Air Support Operations Squadron, 18th Air Support Operations Group while engaged in ground combat against an enemy of the United States in Iraq from 6 January 2007 to 13 April 2007. During this period, while attached to the 3rd Ranger Battalion and exposed to extreme danger from hostile fire, Sergeant Gavulic's courage, leadership, and expert control of strike aircraft in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM ensured the success of countless ground combat missions critical to the defeat of anti-Coalition forces. On one particularly vital mission, he flawlessly controlled multiple sets of Coalition aircraft covering a raid on a foreign fighter safe house, resulting in the capture of several High Value Individuals. Sergeant Gavulic was personally appointed by the ground commander to plan and execute the entire exfiltration phase of 29 direct action missions, resulting in the safe return of all Joint Special Operations Teams. His masterful use of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets enabled Coalition forces to safely maneuver through hostile territory, preventing numerous friendly casualties. While actively employed in combat operations, Sergeant Gavulic developed and fielded a compact, portable situational awareness tool that greatly enhances the Joint Terminal Attack Controller's approach to targeting in a dynamic battlefield. The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Gavulic in this responsible position reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
His 1st Joint Service Commendation Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
Staff Sergeant Joshua M. Gavulic, United States Air Force, distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous achievement as a Joint Strike Force Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 13 June 2006 to 14 June 2006. During this period, Staff Sergeant Gavulic displayed the highest level of trust, dedication to excellence, and an indomitable spirit in the performance and execution of his duties. His exceptional leadership abilities and technical prowess ensured that the Joint Strike Force received critical close air support while under enemy fire. His sound judgment and decisiveness enabled the ground force to effectively engage and eliminate the enemy, saving the lives of fellow soldiers. The distinctive accomplishments of Staff Sergeant Gavulic reflect great credit upon him, the United States Air Force, and the Department of Defense.