Shaw Airman Earns Bronze Star, Purple Heart
(November 1, 2010)
AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Although Joshua Labott is only 21
years old, he has already seen and experienced more than
most people will in their entire lives.|
Senior Airman Joshua Labott, explosive ordinance disposal
technician, entered the Air Force about four years ago right
out of high school.
His original intention was to become an air traffic
controller. After watching a video about EOD technicians, he
changed his mind and career. Little did he know his choice
would be a life-changing decision.
“He's one of those people, when you meet him you know
there's something special,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Pazley,
EOD. “He is a great wingman to call a friend and comrade.”
Airman Labott arrived at Shaw in July 2007. Since then he has been
deployed twice. His latest deployment took him to the Arghandab,
Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, and changed his life forever.
On the morning of Jan. 19, 2010, Airman Labott's team received a
call that there was an improvised explosive device in a school, he
said. Around noon, a team of around 20 people went out on a
dismounted patrol to take care of the IED. Along the way, an IED
buried in the base of a wall exploded.
Senior Airman Joshua Labott, 20th Explosive Ordnance Disposal apprentice, shows off the capabilities of the Remote Operated Neutralizer System, June 11,
2010. Photo by Sr. Airman David Minor
The captain in front of him and the team chief behind him were
killed instantly. His lieutenant was critically injured and Airman
Labott was thrown into a canal and knocked out for a short period of
“At first, I thought we were mortared,” said Airman Labott, “but
after the dust settled, I realized what happened. Everything went
blank, and the only thing I could think of was working on the
lieutenant. It was probably the most focused I've ever been.”
At this moment all of his training and instinct kicked in, and he
began performing first aid care on his lieutenant as his team began
engaging in small-arms fire.
Soon after the attack, the helicopters came in to rescue them. Two
were killed, the Army captain and the Air Force team chief. One
Airman and four Soldiers were injured in the attack. The lieutenant
survived and is currently at Walter Read Medical Center.
As a result of his actions during the attack, Airman Labott was
awarded a Bronze Star with Valor and a Purple Heart.
Although he didn't know his choice to switch career field would
alter his life, Airman Labott said he wouldn't go back and change
“I love my job because at the end of the day, everything I do saves
lives,” he concluded.|
Airman Labott pushes on and is motivated to continue in EOD, he
said. He wants to teach the new Airmen who come in through his
By Airman 1st Class Daniel Phelps |
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
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Bronze Star Recipients |