Paying final respects

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
  • 166th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Nearly 100 Airmen and civilians from the 166th Airlift Wing of the Delaware Air National Guard joined with their wing commander to pay their final respects on Sept. 23, 2011 for slain New Castle County Police officer Lt. Joseph L. Szczerba whose funeral procession drove on Basin Road past the New Castle ANG Base in New Castle, Del. 

Nearly 6,000 people came to Wilmington on Sept. 23 to say a final farewell to Lt. Szczerba. Police and firefighters from at least 100 agencies throughout the region gathered with hundreds of family and friends at the Center on the Riverfront for the funeral service and Catholic Mass. The youngest of seven children, Lt. Szczerba is the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the New Castle County Police Department's 98-year history.

Officer Szczerba was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 16, 2011 after he responded to a 9-1-1 dispatch call from a local neighborhood resident less than two miles from the air base.

Lieutenant Szczerba is the first New Castle County police officer to die while on duty since 1972, when Cpl. Paul Sweeney died from injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident.