2d MLG HomeHiddenNews
2nd Marine Logistics Group News Search
2nd Marine Logistics Group News
Photo Information

Sgt. Jonathan Vasquez, a New York City police officer and Marine with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, Regional Command (Southwest), currently serving in Helmand province, Afghanistan, poses for a photo after sending a video message to show his support for the city and people of New York Aug. 20, 2013. Many of the Marines serving with CLR-2 are reservists from 6th Communications Battalion, a Marine Corps Reserves unit based out of Brooklyn. They recently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in July.

Photo by Cpl. Paul Peterson

Afghan streets: NYPD officer serves in Afghanistan

1 Sep 2013 | Cpl. Paul Peterson

Before the War on Terror, the toppling of the oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan, or the attacks of Sept. 11, a young boy from the Bronx knew one thing: he wanted to help.

It wasn’t a decision to be made for Sgt. Jonathan L. Vasquez, a Marine Corps reservist currently serving with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, Regional Command (Southwest), in Helmand province, Afghanistan. It was just a question of how.

“I’ve been that way since I was young,” said Vasquez, who spent four years persistently applying to be a New York City police officer after joining the military at the age of 17. “Both the career choices I made happen to help people … It’s the best of both worlds I say.”

While already committed to the idea of public service, the attacks on the World Trade Center changed things for the then 12-year-old Vasquez.

“I was in social studies class – go figure, history,” recalled Vasquez pensively. “They actually brought the TV into the classroom and explained to us the World Trade Center was hit. At first they thought it was an accident, but then they told us it wasn’t … I actually wish I was older, and I had joined right then.”

As Americans paused to grieve and unite, he tightened his focus on the future. It was a five-year wait before he met the age requirements for military service and nearly a decade before he realized his dream of joining the New York City Police Department.

The wait and the right to wear the uniforms were worth it, said Vasquez.

“I don’t want to sound corny ... It’s not like Superman or anything like that, but it feels good,” he said. “New York is very patriotic. You get a lot of grace and a lot of thanks. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Not every day is easy. Both jobs come with separation from family, constant stress, and the burden of responsibility. Not all the right choices are clear, Vasquez confessed.

“You don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to make a decision and go with it. That’s a trait of being a leader, especially in the Marine Corps where they grow you to become a leader.”

Vasquez said he takes it in stride. The strain is difficult, but it also forges bonds between him and his fellow servicemembers and police officers. Still, the risks are palpable.

“When you put on that uniform for your shift, you don’t know if you’re coming home,” said Vasquez. “You don’t know if you’ll [experience] a shooting or deliver a baby that day. It’s very stressful, and it’s every day of your life.”

Vasquez balances the stress with the charm of his disarming personality. Whether he’s serving as a vehicle commander on a convoy in Afghanistan or working as a patrol officer out of the 47th Precinct, he’s upbeat.

It’s in his voice every day, a nasally New York accent even a Midwesterner could appreciate and a snicker-like smile to back it up. On patrol or drenched in sweat inside the sweltering gym at Camp Leatherneck, Vasquez keeps smiling, laughing and joking.

He’s the kind of New Yorker who will interrupt the climax of a perfectly good movie to point out the setting is his city. He’s got “attitude.”

“Not in a bad way,” laughed Vasquez. “I’m very respectful, and I’ll respect anyone as long as they respect me.”

Vasquez said his family back home worries about him, but they’re constant support is a source of strength. He said he finds contact with his daughter particularly uplifting.

“She puts a smile on my face,” he said, completely dropping his garb of military toughness. “I can see it in her eyes [when we talk online] that she really misses me … it feels good.”

In addition to his current deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Vasquez deployed to South America, Asia, and Iraq. At every turn, he’s brought his love for service with him.

“I’m grateful for all the things the military has done for me as well as the things I try and do for the military,” said Vasquez. “It’s the same thing for the police department. I’m glad I have a career back home I can go to and also help people.”

Welcome to the 2d MLG's Official Page. We strive to provide our audience with perspective on unit and Marine Corps news and information while maintaining an issue driven, principle based and audience focused conversation online.

While this is an open forum, it's also a family friendly one, so please keep that in mind when posting comments. In addition to keeping it family friendly, we ask that you follow our posting guidelines listed below. Comments and posts that do not follow these guidelines will be removed:

-We do not allow graphic, obscene, explicit or racial comments or submissions nor do we allow comments that are abusive, hateful or intended to defame anyone or any organization.

-We do not allow solicitations or advertisements. This includes promotion or endorsement of any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency. Similarly, we do not allow attempts to defame or defraud any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency.

-We do not allow comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity.

-Apparent spam will be removed and may cause the author(s) to be blocked from the page without notice.

-You participate at your own risk, taking personal responsibility for your comments, your username and any information provided.

- For Official Use Only (FOUO), classified, pre-decisional, proprietary or business-sensitive information should never be discussed here. Don't post personnel lists, rosters, organization charts or directories. This is a violation of privacy.

The appearance of external links on this site does not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps or Department of Defense.

You are encouraged to quote, republish or share any content on this site on your own blog, Web site or other communication/publication. If you do so, please credit the command or the person who authored the content as a courtesy.

Semper Fidelis.


Click for COVID-19 InformationReport Suspicious ActivityDStress Hotline