OSSINING, N.Y. After graduating from the police academy in December, Patrick McGovern was excited to get into the swing of working as an Ossining police officer.
But McGovern's police career has been put on hold because he has been called to serve in the military in Kuwait.
"I've been an Ossining resident all my life and I've wanted to be a police officer since I was in high school, so it was kind of like a dream come true," McGovern said during an interview last week. "It's not a very convenient time for me to get deployed. If I could've said 'Hold it off a year' that would've been great, but when they call, they call."
McGovern has already served two military tours overseas after joining the military in 2001 while he was still in high school. In 2004, he served in Iraq for about a year as a machine gunner whose duty was to try to prevent enemies from disrupting supply lines by blowing up trucks. In 2008, he served in Afghanistan for about 10 months as part of a six-man mentor team whose job was to train Afghan police.
"It's interesting going around the world, interacting with people, seeing how everyone else lives," McGovern said.
McGovern described Iraq as "incredibly hot and dusty," and he described the Afghan police he worked with as "very trustworthy and incredibly loyal."
The area where McGovern was deployed in Afghanistan was a "tier one" area with many roadside bombs and "a lot of action," the rookie police officer said.
"We went on a lot of raids to get people we suspected were Taliban or associated with Taliban," McGovern said. "I trained with these guys for two months straight. I was able to just take my bulletproof vest off and walk around with just a pistol. They would've done anything for me, and I would've done the same for them."
McGovern said he still keeps in contact with his interpreter from Afghanistan who played a crucial role in helping McGovern to live and work in a country where people speak Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Urdu and many other languages.
For his upcoming tour in Kuwait, McGovern has been assigned to serve in the infantry.
"Our job is pretty much to close in and eliminate the enemy, and when we don't have anything to do, we train," McGovern said.
McGovern said he thinks his job in Kuwait will be to serve as a kind of "safety valve" in case anything happens in Iraq or Afghanistan.
McGovern was concerned that he might lose his job as an Ossining police officer while he is deployed overseas, but he has been assured that his job will be here for him when he gets back from serving in the military. In addition, the Ossining village Board of Trustees passed a resolution last Tuesday authorizing the village to pay McGovern the difference between his military salary and his police salary while he is serving for the military.
McGovern is scheduled to begin training for his next military tour within the next few weeks. He will train first within the state and then in Mississippi before being flown overseas to Kuwait.
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