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Tennessee Airman awarded The Adjutent General's Ribbon for Valor

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan
  • 164th Airlift Wing

Tennessee Air National Guard Airman Tech. Sgt. Joshua Garrett was presented with The Adjutant General’s Ribbon for Valor for his heroic actions during an April in-flight emergency.


Col. Jason Glass, Tennessee National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General, Air, presented the ribbon to Garrett during a ceremony at the Memphis Air National Guard Base today. Garrett is an Instructor Loadmaster with the 164th Operations Squadron.


While serving in his civilian capacity as a corporate pilot, Garrett was faced with a life threatening situation while piloting a Citation 10 from Nashville, to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. While cruising at 37,000 feet, the aircraft’s main door experienced a seal failure resulting in the rapid decompression of the aircraft. A vapor cloud also filled the cabin and cockpit, sending debris throughout the aircraft.


Garrett, relying on his military and civilian flight experience, knew he had only 15 to 20 seconds before he became incapacitated from hypoxia.  He immediately donned his emergency oxygen mask and began an expedient descent to 10,000 feet while simultaneously declaring an emergency with air traffic controllers. Avoiding air traffic in his descent, he coordinated for direct routing to the airfield and completed all appropriate emergency procedures before safely landing the aircraft at Raleigh-Durham Airport.


“This is truly and honor (to present this),” said Glass. “A lot of this is training, a lot of this is reaction time and it becomes second nature so we can take care of business when things happen. Josh nailed it.”


Garrett’s heroic actions not only saved his own life, but the lives of his two passengers and an unknown number of persons on the ground. Had it not been for Garrett’s expert actions in the face of this immediate crisis, all aboard the aircraft could have lost consciousness within 30 seconds, causing the aircraft to potentially impact terrain.


B-Roll of the event is located on the 164th Airlift Wing DVIDS page at: