Navid "G" Garshasb passed away on Sept. 4, 2013. After an operation to remove a brain tumor in 2003, the doctors gave him only months to live. During the past 10 years, he continually proved the medical diagnosis wrong and showed his will and determination to survive. However, after recovering from two strokes, in November 2011 and most recently in January 2013, as well as battling a rare blood disorder since 2011, G finally lost his final fight.
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Navid leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Joani; his two sons, Shahine (Shawn) and Andrew (Andy); as well as his mother, Pari; brother, Masoud; and sister, Farideh.
Navid grew up in Shiraz, Iran, moving to the U.S. in 1978 at the age of 12. He attended Nottingham High School and entered the Air Force in October 1986 where he spent 19 years, and was medically discharged in 2005. He began his career in the Civil Engineer field as a member of the 834th Civil Engineering Squadron at Hurlburt Field from 1986 to 1991. From 1991 to 1993, he worked as a crew chief in the 410th Munitions Maintenance Squadron at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan, and as an Aggressor in the 410th Munitions Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, from 1993 to 1999. While stationed at Barksdale, Navid participated in the reserve police department in Bossier City, Louisiana, earning the "Reserve Officer of the Year" award, and was recognized for bravery by the Chief of Police. Finally, he became a Direct Support Operator (DSO) with the 25th Intelligence Squadron back at Hurlburt Field, where he served until his medical retirement in 2005. It was as a DSO where G made a name for himself. He was best known for his invaluable work in the Intelligence arena as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist. He worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the aftermath of the first World Trade Center bombing but it was in November 2001 that he made history. Navid was the sole DSO in a 4-ship formation of MH-53 helicopters when his aircraft made a hard landing in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. His actions following the crash led to the Air Force Sergeants' Association awarding him the William H. Pitsenbarger Heroism Award. The award recognizes the heroic act of an enlisted member who saves a life or prevents serious injury. He was the first non-rescue crewmember to receive it. He was also awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions that night. Navid's other awards include the Meritorious Service Medal; Air Force Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC); Aerial Achievement Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal with four OLC; NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon with two OLC; Small Arms Marksmanship Ribbon with bronze star; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon; Southwest Asia Service Medal with two OLC; Air Force Training Ribbon; Air Force Longevity Service Award with three OLC; Air Force Recognition Ribbon; Kuwait Liberation Medal Saudi Arabia; Kuwait Liberation Medal Kuwait; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with five OLC and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal with four OLC.
After his medical retirement, Navid and Joani made their permanent home in Navarre, Fla. A trusted volunteer of the Navarre United Methodist Church, Navid was baptized Christian in 2006. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, at the Hurlburt Field Chapel. Full military honors will follow at Hurlburt Field Airpark.
An additional Memorial Service will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23, at the Navarre United Methodist Church with the Rev. Alan Cassady officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the "We Care" food pantry at Navarre United Methodist Church, 9474 Navarre Pkwy., Navarre, FL 32566, Ph. 850.939.1005.
Lewis Funeral Home, Navarre Chapel directing.
Published in Northwest Florida Daily News on Sept. 22, 2013