Goan origin Joshua Joaquim Fortes graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in the 2019 batch. Joshua secured a degree of Bachelor of Science in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations and a minor in Arabic. He was commissioned by the Academy’s Superintendent as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force at the official passing out parade ceremony held in Colorado.
The news has caused delight among his family based in Goa such as his uncle Carlton Fortes, who are elated with the news. They add that Joshua, who was born in the USA, had been selected for his intelligence and is considered to be the first person of Goan origin and also one of the youngest, to graduate from the prestigious academy. Joshua’s family roots are based in Orlim in Salcete. He is the son of Clayton and Mary Ann Fortes.
Incidentally, on his maternal side, Joshua is related to two (Indian) war heroes of the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 – Denzil and (late) Trevor Keelor.
Air Marshal Denzil Keelor was honoured with a number of medals including the Veer Chakra, the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, the Keerti Chakra and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. His younger brother, Wing Commander Trevor Keelor, was also honoured with a number of medals including the Vir Chakra and the Vayu Sena Medal. Both brothers have a Veer Chakra for the same feat of shooting down a Sabre jet. This is the first time two brothers have received Veer Chakras for the same reason. According to Trevor’s Veer Chakras award citation, he gave the Indian Air Force its first victory against the Pakistani Air Force. In the year, 1978, Denzil was awarded the Kirti Chakra, one of India’s highest military bravery awards, for two miraculous safe landings in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.