– April 26, 2016
The Special Tactics community mourns the loss of retired Tech. Sgt. Sean Harvell, a highly decorated Air Force combat controller who passed away April 26.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of Sean,” said Col. Michael Flatten, 24th Special Operations Wing vice commander. “Sean served his nation admirably, often in the face of insurmountable odds. He was a fierce warrior on the battlefield, and an incredible brother to those who served alongside him. He was larger than life.”
Harvell, 33, was a war veteran from Long Beach, California, with several deployments resulting in two Silver Star medals, the Purple Heart, and multiple Bronze Star medals. Including Harvell, there have only been three Airmen to receive two Silver Star medals for heroic actions against an enemy of the United States; there have been a total of seven U.S. military members to receive two Silver Stars since 9/11.
“Sean Harvell was a man who left everyone who met him with their own memory and story. He overcame, he persevered, whether on the battlefield or everyday life,” retired Chief Master Sgt. John Thomas said, “He was easy to love because of what he gave back to those he cared about. Loyal, funny, fierce and courageous. He changed my life when I met him and his passing will change it again.”
As a Special Tactics combat controller, he was a static line and military freefall jumper, a combat diver, and qualified in joint terminal attack control conducting close air support strikes during combat. He was medically retired from the Air Force after almost a decade of service.
Harvell is preceded in death by his brother, Staff Sgt. Andrew Harvell, who was also a combat controller. Andrew was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011.
“The Special Tactics community is absolutely committed to honoring Sean,” Flatten said. “He was the epitome of service before self; he was the kind of Airman who would readily sacrifice himself for his brother, his teammates, and the mission. It’s a terrible loss to the Air Force and special operations community, and we will never forget what Andy and Sean gave in service to their country.”