The NYPD badge of a US Army Reservist killed in Iraq has been given new life- now pinned upon the chest of an NYPD rookie who previously served in Afghanistan.
Rookie NYPD officer Matthew Fallon was pinned with the badge of Officer/US Army Reserves Staff Sergeant James McNaughton, who was killed by a Baghdad sniper in 2005 while guarding prisoners at Camp Victory. McNaughton was the first NYPD officer killed in Iraq.
26-year-old Matthew Fallon stood at attention on Tuesday as NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill pinned McNaughton’s old shield -badge number 8243- on his chest in a private ceremony following his graduation of the NYPD academy on December 28 of last year.
The notion to pin Fallon with the badge came when McNaughton’s father and stepmother brought the badge to the academy, telling military veterans at the academy to submit a special statement if they wanted to wear McNaughton’s badge.
Stepmother Michelle McNaughton said that of all the recruits, Fallon’s actions are what made him stand out the most.
“When we were there speaking, Officer Fallon came down the hallway and thanked us for our sacrifice,” she told Newsday. “He was very heartfelt and emotional.”
Fallon’s submitted statement mentioned his stint in Afghanistan as a mechanic as well as his serving on the Fallen Hero Detail, which escorts the remains of fallen servicemembers to an aircraft for their last military flight home.
“I think about the hero’s [sic] that we sent home every day and because of that I am a better man,” Fallon wrote. “Wearing a shield number that has such a rich history behind it would be an absolute honor for me. It would be a connection for me that is difficult to put into words.”
Assigned to the 103rd Precinct in Queens, Fallon said that he “felt very honored and felt privileged and there is such a great tradition behind that shield number.”
McNaughton worked in the K-9 unit, helping recovery efforts after the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks.
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