Law Enforcement Professionals and Great Americans Killed in Action in Afghanistan
Joseph Anthony Morabito, 54, KIA/End of Watch, June 8th 2013, Paktika Province Afghanistan
Joseph Morabito retired after more than 30 years of service as a federal law enforcement officer. He was a veteran of the US Navy having served from 1978 to 1982. Serving his nation mattered to him intensely and was an enduring virtue and character trait that he carried on his sleeve alongside his unending patriotic spirit.
After 9/11, he just couldn’t stand by and not be involved some way or somehow. He felt that he needed to do something to support America and try to make a difference. In 2006 and 2008, he deployed to Iraq in support of the U.S. State Department CIVPOL program as a Police Trainer. In 2009, he deployed back to Iraq as a Law Enforcement Professional with the 22nd Military Police Unit in Baghdad. He then transferred to Afghanistan in 2011 and deployed with the 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division and in 2012 with the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division. It was while serving with the 2nd Brigade in Paktika Province that he was killed in an ambush at an Afghan checkpoint.
Joe loved to cook and after he retired from the police department he opened up an Italian restaurant in his home town of Hunter, New York. As is customary to most Italians, food is love and when you feed someone it is an expression of your love and, therefore, it was natural that he helped feed the troops while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He regularly took time out of his regular job there to cook up delicious Italian meals for the troops and became famous for it. The troops loved him and he loved the troops. He was a father figure to many and a dear friend to many. Serving his family, his community and his nation was his life’s blood and he will be remembered by all to include his extended LEP family.
Norman Maurise Spruill, 50, KIA/End of Watch, April 1, 2012, Logar Province Afghanistan
Norman Spruill was a veteran police officer with the Atlanta Police Department and served in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1986. Norm served with the U.S. State Department’s CIVPOL program as an International Police Trainer and Law Enforcement Professional in Afghanistan. Prior to his death he was involved and survived a 10 hour firefight in Logar Province. It was upon returning to his base that he was killed.
The Army honored Norm and renamed the camp where he served in Logar Province “Camp Spruill”. The LEP office at Bagram Air Field was also renamed in his honor. Norm was passionate about helping low-income families, the homeless and removing the stigma associated with homelessness. He took every opportunity to reach out to the community and local government in Atlanta to raise awareness of the homeless issue in America. His legacy continues as the “Norman Spruill House Foundation” was initiated following his death and continues to serve the homeless and those in need in the Atlanta area.
Kevin O’Rourke, 52, KIA/End of Watch, September 29, 2012, Wardak Province Afghanistan
Kevin O’Rourke retired from the New York City Police Department after 20 years of service. Prior to retiring he attained the rank of Sergeant and was a member of the elite Emergency Service Unit. When 9/11 struck he had just left the World Trade Towers moments before the attack. As a skilled expert in Search and Rescue he spent the following hours and days digging out survivors from the horrendous event. The 9/11 attacks greatly impacted Kevin and he felt the need to help out victims of disasters. He ultimately began volunteering with the “Healing Emergency Response Team – 9/11” (H.E.A.R.T. 9/11) – a newly formed non-profit organization designed to provide immediate assistance to those affected by disasters. In 2005, he deployed to Louisiana in response to Hurricane Katrina and in 2010 to Haiti after the major earthquake that struck that island nation.
He deployed to Iraq in 2011 as a Law Enforcement Professional in support of the mission there. In 2012 he deployed to Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The Sky Soldiers of Task Force Rock as they were known were stationed at Combat Outpost in the Sayad Abad district of Wardak Province. In early September 2012, a massive Taliban SVBIED struck COP Sayad Abad. Kevin was getting ready to go on patrol and fortunately he survived this attack. Later in the month, on September 29th, he was on patrol near the entrance to the Tangi Valley – a dangerous Taliban controlled area– when the patrol he was with came under fire. During the firefight he died as a result of small arms fire.
Paul Protzenko, 46, KIA/End of Watch, July 9, 2011, Panjshayr Province, Afghanistan
Paul was a 22 year veteran of the Connecticut State Police and served for 6 years in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne. Paul was an avid martial artists and beloved member in the Enfield, CT community and known for always looking out for others. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and was killed in action when the convoy he was travelling in was attacked by small arms fire.
In a final act of unselfishness and representative of his character, Paul had asked his good friend, Mr. Paul Robinson, to do something for him should he not return home. That request was for all those in attendance at his funeral to stand and applaud his fellow LEPs, state police officers and military veterans.
Tom Boyle, 62, KIA/End of Watch, June 19, 2012 Kandahar Province Afghanistan
Detective Tom Boyle retired from the Chicago Police Department after 30 years of service. He was a fourth generation police officer with CPD and his great grandfather, William Mooney, was killed in the line in 1908. His named is etched in the CPD Memorial Wall for fallen officers near Soldier Stadium.
Prior to his law enforcement career he served in the Marine Corps where He was also a Vietnam Veteran having served two combat tours as a Marine where he earned the Cross of Gallantry. Upon retiring from the police department in 2000, Tom could not standby idly by and do nothing. He spirit called him to always try to help others and to find ways to serve the greater good. That is why he deployed to Kosovo and Iraq where he provided law enforcement training in support of the CIVPOL program with the U.S. Department of State.
Tom deployed to Afghanistan as a Law Enforcement Professional and worked in Kandahar Province. He enjoyed the work he was doing overseas and loved being with the men and women of the armed forces. He enjoyed the camaraderie that he found in the police department, the Marines and with the Army.
He was killed June 19th, 2013 when insurgents overran the base he was at in Kandahar.
Sgt. Tim Gilbert of the Chicago PD worked with Tom as a rookie said that they enjoyed a common bond as Marines and said “even though I was a rookie, he treated me very well. He helped me handle my first case and I learned a lot from him. I only wish I could have worked with him more.”
Wherever he served, Pauline Boyle said the safety and welfare of children was a top priority for her husband, who would frequently give presents to local kids. “It was rewarding,’’ Mrs. Boyle said of her husband’s overseas work. “He felt he was accomplishing something. He’s just a good American. He’s a patriot. He loved this country.”
The following Law Enforcement Professionals were Wounded in Combat and will also received the Secretary of Defense Defense of Freedom award for their actions in Afghanistan later this year.
Law Enforcement Professionals and Great Americans Wounded in Action in Afghanistan
Karl Beilby, WIA, November 14, 2010, Kunar Province
David Cole, WIA, September 25, 2011, Logar Province
Randy Ryan, WIA, October 14, 2011, Kandahar Province
Gilbert Unger, WIA, October 23, 2011, Helmond Province
Craig Smith, WIA, June 22, 2012, Logar Province
James Taman, WIA, May 17, 2009, Kapisa Province
Richard Crawford (WIA), November 11,2010, Nimroz Province