An NYPD detective was among a half dozen American service members killed in Afghanistan on Monday. The NY Times reports, "In one of the deadliest attacks against American forces in Afghanistan this year, a Taliban suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into a military convoy near Bagram Air Base on Monday, killing six American service members."
Detective Joseph Lemm, 45, was remembered by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton:
Earlier today, we lost one of our Finest in a suicide bombing in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Detective Joseph Lemm epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for: putting his country and city first.
Detective Lemm not only served New Yorkers as a member of this Department, but served his country as a member of the U.S. Air National Guard. Detective Lemm was a fifteen year veteran of the NYPD and was promoted to Detective in January of 2014, serving in the Bronx Warrant Squad. As a member of the NYPD, Detective Lemm was deployed three times, twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.
Detective Lemm leaves behind a wife and two children.
Tonight, we grieve and we remember this selfless public servant who dedicated his life to protecting others.According to a colleague who spoke to the NY Post
, Lemm was known as "Superman" because he was a "strong, strapping guy" who "looked like Clark Kent." The cop said, "“Everyone is in shock. It’s another week before Christmas and we have another cop we have to worry about burying and taking care of his family."
Lemm's children are a 17-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said Lemm "made the ultimate sacrifice for our city and for our country," reflected on his death:
Just one day after the city marked the anniversary of the assassinations of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, today’s horrible news serves as a painful reminder of the debts we owe to the brave men and women in uniform who put themselves in harm’s way each and every single day in order to keep us all safe.
There can be no greater sacrifice than the one made by a member of our military or our police force, who put their lives on the line to protect Americans. Detective Joseph Lemm did both for 15 years. He gave his life, yet asked for little in return other than to serve his country and his fellow New Yorkers, who may not have known him in life, but mourn his death nonetheless.
Police and military families serve right alongside their loved ones in uniform, so tonight, on behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our gratitude and deepest sympathies to the Lemm family. This week, as we wrap up the holiday season, I also want us to remember the families in New York City - and across the country - who have an empty chair at the dinner table because one of their loved ones went off to defend our country and never came back. May God bless them all.
ABC News notes, "The U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ended on Dec. 28, 2014. At that point the remaining 10,000 troops in Afghanistan transitioned to a training, advisory and assist mission. Most of those troops never leave the few large bases in Afghanistan where they conduct their training or advisory missions." However, the Taliban has recently been making a push into some areas, prompting American Special Operations to assist Afghan forces.