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By Tech. Sgt. Denise Johnson, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) — A New York City police officer currently deployed at a Southwest Asia air base added a touch of blue to the wing’s Patriot Day ceremony here Sept. 11 by donating her police uniform.

Master Sgt. Rose Condello, a 108th Air Refueling Wing member, is the marketing director for the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron.

Airmen from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing wanted to donate a uniform display box to their Sept. 11 Memorial during the seventh anniversary commemoration ceremony. They approached Sergeant Condello after hearing she is a police officer with the 62nd Precinct in Brooklyn.

The 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s structures and fire and emergency services flights Airmen built a display case to house a New York firefighter and police uniform.

“Our fire chief, (Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Mohr), asked if we wanted to add a piece to the circle of honor,” said Staff Sgt. Mitchell Robinson, the battalion chief. “About 10 of us got together from the two different CE flights and came up with this idea.”

The display will be added to the 380th AEW Circle of Honor, the wing’s Sept. 11 memorial, as a dedication to the fallen firefighters and police who died in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

When the commemoration organizers asked Sergeant Condello if she would like to say a few words at the ceremony, she humbly declined. “My story is not that important,” she said. “I’m honored I was asked to contribute.”

Sergeant Condello said she hopes to share photos of the unveiling and the ceremony with her union and precinct when she returns home just days after the event.

The complete uniform includes a cap device bearing the badge number 3100. This number was the original telephone exchange for the New York Police Headquarters before it moved to One Police Plaza. It was since used as part of the name for the N.Y.P.D. magazine and has come to symbolize the department.

The badge on the uniform displays Sergeant Condello’s badge number along with a traditional mourning band.

“It means a lot to me to have my badge number in that display,” she said. “To me, it says I had a part in this, I am leaving a part here. The circle of honor will be changed forever.”

As the marketing director for the wing, Sergeant Condello occasionally brings tours to the memorial.

Master Sgt. Rose Condello arranges the badge on her New York Police Department uniform she donated Sept. 11 for a display at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. U.S. Air Force photo Tech. Sgt. Christopher A. Campbell.

“It was nice this last tour because the fire department guys who brief that portion of the tour told the group about the display we’ve been working on,” Sergeant Condello said. “They tell folks that it’s my badge number there. I know the story will keep going.”

Sergeant Condello will soon return to her home in Staten Island, N.Y., and to the 108th Air Refueling Wing. She will drive the Verrazano Bridge to work every day as she makes her way to work in Brooklyn with a view of the city’s skyline and recalled that fateful day.

“I went over the Verrazano Bridge all by myself (on Sept. 11, 2001),” Sergeant Condello said. ”They shut the whole city down and every cop had to go to work. You had to go through security to cross the bridge. Only one person could go across at a time in case terrorists would attack the bridges. I was the only one on that bridge; the only vehicle. That’s when I lost it, actually. When you’re coming over the bridge, the city is off to your left. I’d look at it every day on my way to work, but now I can’t even look at it because the Twin Towers aren’t there.”


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Volume 34 Number 3 Staff / Information
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