Garshasb, a retired master sergeant, underwent extensive treatment for a medulloblastoma in the base of his skull in 2003.The discovery of the fast-growing high-grade tumor came two years after the helicopter Garshasb was riding in crashed into the Afghani Mountains in December of 2001. An airborne linguist at the time, Garshasb is credited with saving the lives of his fellow crewmen and the lives of several shepherds that had seen the crash and went to the aircraft’s downed location.
Joani Garshasb, Navid’s wife, explained that the Special Forces that had been on board the flight were ready to kill the shepherds, but Navid was able to discern that they did not pose a threat to them. Although Navid sustained three broken spinal vertebra and a broken rotator cuff in the crash, he was able to diffuse the situation.
For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Meritorious Service Medal and the William H. Pitsenbarger Heroism Award.
Two years later while serving a second tour in Iraq, the flight surgeon noted Garshasb’s gait was off and sent him to have a CAT scan. The CAT scan revealed the medulloblastoma at the base of his skull. He was sent to Walter Reed Army Hospital where he spent eight months undergoing extreme radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
He was medically retired with 19.5 years of service in 2005 and a couple of years later he was diagnosed with the blood disease that would continue to break down his body. During an injection for the disease, he suffered an allergic reaction causing a stroke and affecting his speech and his walk.
Married in 1987, Navid and Joani were first stationed at Hurlburt Air Force Base.
“It was ironic, we moved 15 times in 18 years, and then we ended up back here and he was medically retired,” said Joani.