1Lt Joseph D. Helton Jr. (USAFA '07)

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1Lt Joseph D. Helton Jr. (USAFA '07)

25.00

1st Lieutenant Joseph D. Helton was killed September 8th, 2009 of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Joseph was assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Joseph was born into a military family and at the age of 2, moved from the Florida panhandle to Monroe, Georgia. He attended Monroe Area High where he ran cross country and served as soccer team captain for two years. Joseph also commanded the Junior ROTC at his high school before graduating 5th in his class in 2003. He won over $1 million in scholarships, but still decided he would attend the Air Force Academy.

Joseph graduated from the Air Force Academy, Cadet Squadron 19, in 2007 as an Honor Graduate in all three Academy award areas: Leadership, Academics and Athletics – top 10% of his class. He chose to work in Air Force Security Forces upon his commission and was accepted for assignment as an adviser to the Iraqi Police in southern Baghdad. Joseph had served out his full deployment training Iraqi police officers and then volunteered to extend his deployment in Iraq, as he saw the opportunity to lead Det 2.  Det 2 was the unit Joseph did his initial deployment spin-up training with.  On Joseph’s final mission, he again volunteered to take command, as the officer originally assigned to do so had not yet returned to base.

One of the things Joseph's family remembers about him was his love of Thanksgiving and everything that went with it – food, family and traditional football games. But most of all, Joseph was gifted with natural born leadership and charisma - he inspired those around him to achieve their goals and was often heard saying “Don’t be a Weaksauce”.

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