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Memorial set for Fort Benning airman killed in parachute accident

Air Force Master Sgt. Joshua Gavulic jumps out of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a reconnaissance surveillance course for leaders over Fort Benning, Ga., on Oct. 25, 2013.

A memorial service will be held Friday at Fort Benning for a decorated Air Force Special Tactics airman who died during a Feb. 21 parachute training accident in Eloy, Ariz.

Master Sgt. Josh Gavulic, a 16-year-veteran with 10 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, was a tactical air control party member assigned to the 17th Special Tactics Squadron at Fort Benning. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

The service will be held at 3 p.m. at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Benning.

Lt. Col. John Traxler, commander of the 17th Special Tactics Squadron, said Gavulic was a consummate professional.

“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,” Traxler said.

The commander said he and Gavulic talked frequently about the responsibilities of husbands and fathers. “Those were the roles he held most dear,” Traxler said. “I loved him for that and he personified qualities that I strive for.”

As a member of the Special Tactics Squadron, Gavulic’s unit was attached to support the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning.

As a tactical air control party member, Gavulic possessed special tactics which included infiltrating and fighting along side of SEAL and Special Forces units, said Air Force Maj. Craig Savage, a public affairs spokesman at Hurlburt Field in Florida.

“We are typically attached to those units to bring air to ground integration capability,” he said. “If we have an Air Force guy on the ground with Special Forces, they can speak to Air Force guys in the sky.”

Gavulic specialized in close air support and calling in fire. “That is one reason why we are attached to the 8 to 12-man Ranger team, Special Forces or SEAL team,” Savage said.

Gavulic was in Eloy to stay proficient in sky diving when the accident occurred. The Air Force assigns a team to investigate the accident.

Other than his wife, Gavulic is survived by six children.

“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,” Traxler said.

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