Joel C. Gentz

Fallen Hero’s Hometown and State: Grass Lake, MI

Branch of Service: U.S. Air Force

Rank: Captain

Captain Joel C. Gentz was a Combat Rescue Officer. He was offered a pilot slot as a cadet in Air Force ROTC, but turned it down because he wanted to save lives. On his first deployment to Afghanistan Joel flew 89 missions with his pararescue crew, Pedro 66, and saved 39 lives. Joel was a natural leader who never viewed himself as above the crew he led. He had a great sense of humor, but took his job very seriously.

Joel’s helicopter was shot down while approaching a landing zone in Helmand Province. He and 3 other crew members were killed instantly. A 5th crew member died about 4 weeks later from his injuries. 2 crew members survived and live with disabling injuries.

Joel loved running and being outdoors. He had been married 2 years and 2 days when he was killed. Joel was a loving and devoted husband. He loved his family with all of his heart.

Age: 25

Date of Death: June 09, 2010

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