Joshua Thomas Harris – Petty Officer First Class, United States Navy

U.S. Department of Defense

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

September 01, 2008

DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Harris, 36, of Lexington, North Carolina, died August 30, 2008, from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.  Harris was temporarily forward deployed from his assignment at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dam Neck, Virginia.

3 Sepember 2008
Courtesy of the Salisbury (North Carolina) Post

LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA — This community is grieving the loss of one of its own — a U.S. Navy SEAL died Saturday during combat operations in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon announced that Special Warfare Operator First Class SEAL Joshua Thomas Harris, a 36-year-old, highly decorated combat veteran, drowned after being swept away by turbulent waters while conducting a river crossing during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.


He was temporarily forward deployed to Afghanistan from his assignment at Naval Special Warfare Development Group in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“Petty Officer Harris was an exemplary SEAL,” Captain Scott Moore, commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, said in a press release. “He served his country valorously during multiple combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq. He was a brave warrior, SEAL role model, mature and reliable teammate and an absolute great American.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Petty Officer Harris' family. His loss is deeply felt by the entire Naval Special Warfare community.”

Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli, commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Command, said, “The entire Naval Special Warfare community is deeply saddened by the passing of our teammate, Petty Officer Josh Harris. He will always be remembered as a warrior, a leader and a patriot. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends during this extremely difficult time.”

Harris was the son of Dr. Sam R. Harris and Evelyn Long Harris of U.S. 64 East in Lexington. He was a 1990 graduate of Lexington High School, where he was an “All County” and “All Conference” football player. He graduated from Davidson College in 1994 with a degree in studio art, then went on to pursue a master's degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

His art has been on display at several showings on the East Coast, including the prestigious Lincoln Center in New York City.

Harris enlisted in the Navy on August 23, 2000, reporting to Boot Camp at Naval Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. on Sept. 7. After completing Boot Camp, he graduated from Quartermaster “A” School before reporting to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Coronado, Calif. That training is the first step in becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL and is six months of the most demanding training in the military.

Upon graduating from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, Harris completed an additional five months of SEAL Qualification Training before reporting to his first permanent duty station at SEAL Team Ten at Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia.

While onboard SEAL Team Ten, Harris completed many rigorous qualification courses preparing him for combat, including Static Line Parachutist, Naval Special Warfare Special Reconnaissance Scout, Naval Special Warfare Sniper, SEAL Diving Supervisor, Advanced Tactical Driving course and others. Harris distinguished himself during multiple combat deployments to Iraq with SEAL Team Ten while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On May 26, 2006, Harris transferred from SEAL Team Ten and began the demanding selection and training program at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. His training included Military Free-Fall, Naval Special Warfare Tactical First Response Medical Training, Survive Escape Resist Evade (SERE) 215 and 250 courses, Combat Pistol and Rifle Course and several other courses.

He completed the arduous training during the selection program and received orders to Naval Special Warfare Development Group as a member of Naval Special Warfare Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadron Two.

Harris received numerous awards during his career as a U.S. Navy SEAL, including the Bronze Star Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” (Valor) Distinguishing Device, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V” (Valor) Distinguishing Device, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon (Operation Iraqi Freedom), Combat Action Ribbon (Operation Enduring Freedom), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4) and Good Conduct Medal (2).

In addition to his parents, he is survived by a twin sister, Kiki Harris; a brother, S. Ranchor Harris III and his wife, Serina; and nephews Dylan and Chase.

A memorial service for Harris will be held at noon Saturday at First Baptist Church of Lexington with Dr. Tom King officiating. Inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. at a later date.

Remembering 6 Who Served

Navy SEAL and 5 Soldiers Are Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
By Mark Berman
Cpurtesy of The Washington Post
Saturday, September 13, 2008Hundreds of mourners gathered at Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, some coming to honor five soldiers killed in a helicopter crash last year and others to pay tribute to a Navy SEAL killed in combat last month.

Although the gray skies threatened rain, the weather held for the services.

For the first funeral, more than 300 people crossed York Drive, which lines the north side of Section 60, for the burial of Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Thomas Harris.

Harris, 36, of Lexington, North Carolina, died August 30, 2008, during combat while trying to cross a turbulent river in Afghanistan. The Navy SEAL was temporarily deployed from his assignment at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group based at Dam Neck, Virginia.

“He was a true Renaissance man,” his mother, Evelyn Harris, told The Washington Post last week. “Josh always wanted to be the best and the brightest, especially in things that helped people. He believed he was fighting for our freedom and fighting terrorism with all his heart.”

During the service, flags were presented to his mother and father, Sam Harris; his twin sister, Mary-Maria Kirstin Harris, known as Kiki; and his older brother, S. Ranchor Harris III.

Harris was a man of diverse tastes and talents, an all-county and all-conference football player at Lexington Senior High School who majored in studio art at Davidson College, family members said. He loved to paint, and the walls of his family's home are covered with his work.

Later in the morning, dozens of mourners came from Bradley Drive, on Section 60's south side, for a group burial honoring five soldiers killed in a helicopter crash May 30, 2007.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christopher M. Allgaier, Staff Sergeant Charlie L. Bagwell, Sergeant Jesse A. Blamires, Sergeant Brandon E. Hadaway and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua R. Rodgers were killed when their CH-47D Chinook helicopter crashed near Afghanistan's Helmand province. A Canadian and a Briton were also killed in the crash. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

A horse-drawn caisson followed a military band down Bradley Drive. The caisson carried a flag-draped silver coffin bearing the remains of the five soldiers. Mourners stood as four Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead to start the service.

American flags were presented to Rodgers's wife and parents, Blamires's wife and father, and Allgaier's wife. A child sat on Jennifer Allgaier's lap, clutching the flag that was presented, and Allgaier held the child and the flag close to her.

All of the soldiers were paratroopers with the 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Each had been awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among other honors, and had at least one previous deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan.

At 33, Allgaier, of Middleton, Wisconsin, was the eldest of the five and served as a tactical operations officer and pilot.

“I catch myself going from choked up to upset and to mad about” the situation, his father, Bob Allgaier, told the Omaha World-Herald shortly after the crash. “Even though he had a high-risk job, you never really think this would happen.”

Three days after the crash, Jennifer Allgaier received flowers and an anniversary card from her husband, she told the Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina.

Rodgers, 29, of Carson City, Nevada, was also a helicopter pilot. More than 600 people attended Rodgers's funeral in June 2007, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune in California. His aunt, Linda Moshier, said at the time that Rodgers was always the first to offer others help.

“He was the kind of person any time anyone needed help, he was the first one there,” she said. “He was a wonderful, wonderful human being.”

She said he returned home from boot camp determined to marry his high school sweetheart, Casey. They had three daughters: Madison, Autumn and Ashlyn.

Bagwell, 28, of Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, was well-liked and a mentor, members of the 82nd Airborne Division said in a release.

The flight engineer had a son, Preston Owen. Several members of Bagwell's high school class established a memorial scholarship in his honor, calling him “a true friend to all who knew him” on its Web site.

“He was liked by everyone who knew him,” Chief Warrant Officer Dave Cox said in the release. “You couldn't help but like Charlie. . . . I will truly miss him and there will never be anyone like him.”

Blamires, 25, of West Jordan, Utah, was a flight engineer but dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

At a memorial service for him in June 2007, family and friends recalled the fun he had when flying, according to the Deseret Morning News. His friend Mark Jones recalled that after a test flight with Blamires, “I actually got to hear Jesse give an audible ‘Wee.' ”

Jones also spoke about Blamires's bravery, saying he aided another aircraft that was under fire during a mission a month before the Chinook crash. “That is the definition of a hero. Jesse was a hero,” he said.

Hadaway, 25, of Valley, Alabama, was a “big ol' teddy bear,” Staff Sergeant Ronald E. Walton said in a statement. A flight engineer who joined the Army in January 2002, Hadaway was also a proud husband and father.

His father, Gene Hadaway, told the Tuscaloosa News last year that Hadaway was a very active child who was protective of his younger brother and sister.

“He really looked after them growing up,” Gene Hadaway said. “If you were going to pick on Michael or Brittany, you'd have to pick on Brandon. That's the way he was. Brandon wouldn't be the one to back down from anything.”

With yesterday's funerals, the number of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan who are buried at Arlington rose to 500.


Family members pay tribute to Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Thomas Harris, 
a SEAL killed while trying to cross a river during combat in Afghanistan


  • SO1   US NAVY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 04/19/1972
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/31/2008

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