Killed in Action, June 9th, 2010, while serving in Afghanistan


Joel and his wife, Kathryn.

Air Force Combat Rescue Officer Joel Gentz was killed in action on

June 9th, 2010, along with three other members of a pararescue team,

when their helicopter was shot down by Taliban missiles

during a mission over Helmand province in Afghanistan.   


Joel lived by the words "That Others May Live," putting his own life

in danger on countless rescue missions to save not only American

troops in harms way, but Afghan civilians, especially children.


Joel was a POC for The Ships Project, and at the time of his death,

had asked us for help with a special project he was planning,

which he called "kid bombs" - dropping toys to the Afghani children. 

Though he didn't live to complete that mission himself,

the toys were sent to his unit in Afghanistan, and we know his

legacy will live on through the children who received them.


He was a graduate of Purdue University, and leaves behind his wife of two years, Kathryn, as well as his parents, Judy and Steve, and his brother Jared and sister Rachel.


From Right to Left: 1st Lieutenant Joel Gentz,

his sister Rachel, wife Kathryn, and brother Jared.

Joel with his wife Kathryn, and parents Judy and Steve



"Joel's heart was big enough that

nearly every person he came in

contact with liked him or loved him.

His love of his family was huge,

of his wife immeasurable.


It is not a surprise to me that in

Joel's brief tour in Afghanistan he was reaching out to those with whom he thought he could make a heartfelt change...the children."

~Judy Gentz