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Flying Tiger honored as 'Military Hero' recipient

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Greg Nash
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

As camera flashes illuminate a room, thunderous cheers erupt as the crowd congratulates one Airman and his counterparts for their selfless service.

Donning a bright red medal while hoisting his glass plaque, Staff Sgt. Joshua Dunn, 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman, never knew that safely removing passengers from an overturned car would lead to this moment.

Not one to pursue personal accolades for what he feels are obligations, Dunn said he believes in doing what’s right even when others may not be watching. However, all eyes were on him during the American Red Cross of South Georgia Hero Awards March 27 in Valdosta, Georgia.

“Always doing well for others and helping people, no matter if they’re military or civilian, is important to me,” Dunn said. “It’s a great feeling to help people, especially on this level. This was my first instance in a situation like this, but I’m glad with how I handled it.”

In what began as a normal after-work commute, one Friday took a slight detour. During this trip, the oddity of seeing cars bypass an overturned vehicle with no one on scene compelled him to approach the vehicle.

He instinctively blocked oncoming traffic as his military Self-Aid & Buddy Care training kicked in while he inched closer to the vehicle.

Unable to see inside the car because of the deployed airbags, the muffled voices of children ensured Dunn there were indeed signs of life, which led him to pry the doors open.

Assessing the victims, he removed the passengers to safety until the paramedics arrived. Upon their arrival, Dunn proceeded to help load the victims in the ambulances, unsure of the driver’s fate. Luckily, everyone survived.

“It’s been a life-changing experiencing because the incident has made me reevaluate my bad days and change my perspective," he said. "It was a bad situation, but I’m glad I was there to help the victims and make my family, the community and my unit proud.”

For Dunn’s flight chief, Master Sgt. Steven Miller, 23rd CMS aerospace propulsion, this type of selfless service didn't come as a surprise to him or the rest of the unit.

“We are extremely proud of Dunn’s actions, and it goes to show the caliber of Airmen [who] work in the 23rd CMS,” Miller said. “I would expect nothing less of any one of our [Airmen]. We are instilled with a wingman concept, to help each other out. That concept has no bounds and can extend into our community in order to protect our neighbors, friends and even complete strangers.

“He is a shining example of what a wingman is,” Miller added. “He's a representation of our core values, not just with integrity in doing the right thing, but also service before self to the country and community.”