CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – Staff Sgt. Jonathan Tinsley of the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party became the first Air Guard member to receive the Washington State Guardsman Medal Nov. 2.
The Washington Guardsman Medal is awarded to an individual who voluntarily demonstrates extreme courage and heroism.
On March 3, 2017, in Tumwater, Washington, while off duty from his military and civilian job, Tinsley rescued two members of the community who were under attack from a violent criminal. Tinsley tackled the attacker and placed him into a submission hold, disrupting the attack and preventing further harm to the victims.
Tinsley held the suspect until police arrived and let go only to allow officers to place him in handcuffs. The attacker resisted violently, knocking the officer away. Tinsley again leaped into action, reapplying the submission hold with increased pressure, rendering the attacker unconscious.
Tinsley, who is a firefighter and emergency management technician in his civilian job, immediately switched roles from protector to caregiver, rendering medical aid to the victims and the perpetrator. Tinsley was credited with saving the lives of the victims, and his actions led to the arrest of a violent criminal.
"Jonathan really represents the best of our Guardsmen," said Brig. General Jeremy Horn, Washington Air National Guard Commander, during the award ceremony. "For his day job, he gravitated to a life of action, a career field where you run in when others run out, and you assume danger to try and save other people. Then he goes above and beyond, joins the Air National Guard and also gravitates to a career field where he runs towards the sound of the guns when others run away, where he is willing to risk personal safety in order to bring our soldiers, Airmen and Marines home safely. The fact that he would do that is really a testament to his character."
Tinsley, inspired by his grandfather and uncle's military service, joined the Washington Air National Guard in 2014. Following Basic Military Training, he attended TACP school, where he received the Distinguished Graduate Award. In his civilian job, Tinsley has received three Medals of Valor for life-saving efforts.