Since 2006, the family and friends of James McNaughton have gathered for an extremely successful benefit to honor and remember McNaughton’s life. McNaughton was a New York City police officer …
Since 2006, the family and friends of James McNaughton have gathered for an extremely successful benefit to honor and remember McNaughton’s life. McNaughton was a New York City police officer and Army Reservist, who was killed in action by sniper fire while guarding prisoners at a camp in Iraq 18 years ago.
On Feb. 4, the event will return after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Held at Mulcahy’s Pub and Music Hall in Wantagh, in past years the event attracted 1,200 to 1,500 attendees. Money raised from the event will be donated to multiple charities, including but not limited to the Wounded Warriors Project and the Northport PTSD Veterans Association. Anyone is welcome to attend the event, which costs $20 at the door and will feature live music, raffles, giveaways, free food, drink specials, and the New York City Police Department’s Pipes and Drums Band. Mulcahy’s is located right across from the Long Island Rail Road station, providing easy access for attendees who do not want to drive.
“Not to discredit anybody else, but it’s not like a traditional fundraiser,” said Vinny Zecca, one of the organizers of the event. “It’s more of a party or celebration. It’s the way Jimmy would have wanted it.”
Zecca noted that this year, the fundraiser will focus not only on honoring McNaughton and his legacy, but also honoring other fallen soldiers, fallen law enforcement, and fallen first responders from across the local area.
McNaughton was a staff sergeant with the Army Reserve’s 306th MP Battalion, 800th Military Police Brigade, based out of Uniondale. He served five years on active duty as a military police officer stationed in Fort Irwin, Calif., and Mannheim, Germany. He also served tours in Bosnia and Kosovo. After an honorable discharge, he remained in the Army Reserves while joining the New York City Police Department in July 2001, graduating as part of the “9/11 Class.” His father is a retired New York City police officer and his stepmother is a retired officer from the Transit Bureau. McNaughton was engaged to be married to an officer in the 9th Precinct. In 2002, McNaughton’s unit was activated for Operation Noble Eagle. After his one-year deployment was complete, he went back to patrolling Transit Bureau, District 2, in Lower Manhattan. In October 2004, McNaughton volunteered for his second deployment. Upon completion of training in Fort Dix for two months, the 306th MP BN, 77th U.S. Army Regional Readiness Command, based at Fort Totten in Queens, was deployed to Iraq on Dec. 26, 2004. Upon arriving in Iraq, the unit took command of Abu Ghraib prison. In June 2005, his commanding officer asked for volunteers with actual police experience to help train the Iraqi Highway Patrol. McNaughton accepted the dangerous assignment, based on the fact that his fellow soldiers had families and children. On Aug. 2, 2005, while on this mission, McNaughton was struck by sniper fire while training an Iraqi officer up in a tower. He was the first New York City police officer to give his life for his country as a soldier in the line of duty while serving in Iraq.
“It’s not about the event and the party and the celebration,” Zecca said of the upcoming fundraiser. “I like to think that it’s more about the person and keeping his memory alive.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here