Community mourns soldier killed overseas
KIA July 5, 2006
PLYMOUTH - Jeffrey McLochlin had a long list of titles: father, husband, police officer, soldier. But his sister Andrea Marrs found a word to sum it all up. “He's a hero,” she said.
The Plymouth and Rochester communities are dealing with the loss of 45-year-old McLochlin, who was killed while serving in the National Guard overseas.
McLochlin, a Plymouth police officer from Rochester, was stationed in Afghanistan and serving his second tour of duty. The news of his death came on Wednesday evening.
His wife Nicolle McLochlin was at dinner with her sister and Marrs when the baby-sitter called to tell her three soldiers were on her doorstep. “It was a terrible way to hear it,” Marrs said. “But I guess there's no good way to hear it.”
1st Sgt. Major McLochlin was killed by small arms fire while on patrol Wednesday morning near the village of Orgun-e, Afghanistan, 20 miles from Pakistan. A helicopter was taking him to receive medical care, but he died before it could land.
He leaves behind three children, two sons, 16 and 8, and a daughter, 5. The younger two have not really dealt with the news yet, Marrs said.
“Their daughter, the first time she cried is when she sat on Nicole's lap during a television interview,” Marrs said. “It kind of hit her. Even her son is not really dealing with it. He's been gone for so long. I don't know if that makes it easier or harder.”
Nicolle last spoke with her husband on Independence Day, Marrs said. Before he was transferred to a more active base, the couple would talk twice a day, every day.
A Guardsman for 19 years, McLochlin believed in what the United States was doing overseas, Marrs said. “He would tell his children that he was there to help the Afghan kids and make sure they were safe,” she said. “You couldn't have sent him home.”
McLochlin, who was referred to as “Mac” around the Plymouth Police Department, was a quiet officer. His leadership came through actions instead of words, and that will be greatly missed, Cox said.
“Even though he was so quiet, officers looked up to Jeff,” he said. “Maybe it was because of his military background.”
The tragic news came to the police department via a call from Marrs on Wednesday evening. Second shift dispatcher Marilyn King, who worked very closely with McLochlin, was immediately relieved from work. “Marilyn was very tight with him,” Cox said.
Cpl. Joe Deisch and clerical employee Madeline Johns, who both work second shift, were also hit hard by the news, he said. On Wednesday evening, King and Deisch went to Rochester to be with the McLochlin family.
Cox spoke briefly with Jeff's father, Rich, on Thursday. “I think it's just hard for them to believe,” Cox said. “You hear about it everyday and see it on the news, but it's not until it's your own that it hits you.”
On Thursday, the police department was mourning the loss of one of “their own”, Cox said. “Everyone is walking about like zombies,” he said. “We really don't know what to say to each other.”
McLochlin was a 1979 graduate of Rochester High School. He attended Wabash College, where he was an All-American football player, Marrs said. The oldest of four siblings, he was always protective - especially of his sisters. “He's always been the tough-guy soldier sort of person,” she said.
McLochlin wasn't the first in his family to serve and protect. His father, Rich, was the Fulton County Sheriff for eight years and his mother Cindy worked in the jail. His brother is currently serving in the U.S. Army. Prior to becoming a Plymouth police officer in 1999, McLochlin was an officer with the Rochester Police Department.
In January 2004, he served his first tour of duty overseas with the Indiana National Guard. He returned to the police force one year later, and was called to serve again in September 2005.
The department was looking forward to his return this September.
In honor of their fallen friend, officers will be wearing a black band over their badges for 21 days. Plymouth Mayor Gary Cook has also asked that individuals and businesses join the city in lowering flags to half staff.
It could be at least two weeks until McLochlin's body is returned to the United States. The Good Family Funeral Home in Rochester is handling the funeral arrangements.
The Plymouth Police Department has lost two officers in the past five months. In February, Cpl. Steven Hansen died unexpectedly in Plymouth.
Officer killed overseas
Plymouth Police Officer Jeffrey McLochlin
By Lindahl Wiegand Staff Writer
PLYMOUTH- Plymouth Police Officer Jeffrey McLochlin has been killed while serving in the National Guard overseas.
McLochlin, of Rochester, was stationed in Afghanistan and serving his second tour of duty. He has been on military leave from the Plymouth Police Department (PPD) since September 2005.
Police Chief Jim Cox said officers will wear a black band over their badges in honor of their fallen friend.
McLochlin has been with the PPD since 1999. He leaves behind a wife and three children. At press time, there was no information on the details of his death or arrangements.
Mayor Gary Cook has ordered all of the flags in the city to be lowered to half-staff. The PPD has lost two officers this year. Cpl. Steven Hansen died unexpectedly in Plymouth earlier this year in February.
SGM. Jeffrey A. McLochlin
2-13-61 - 7-5-06
SGM. Jeffrey A. McLochlin was born February 13, 1961 to Richard and Cindy McLochlin in Rochester, Indiana.
Jeff attended Rochester high school from 1975 - 1979 where he earned varsity letters in football, basketball, and track.
Jeff was also selected to the northern lakes conference first team in football.
Jeff went on to play football at Wabash College from 1979 - 1983 where he led his team to an undefeated season and was
the team leading tackler four straight years, earning him All - American honors.
Jeff was married on December 24, 1996 to Nicholle and they have three children: Darby, age 16; Conner, age 8; and daughter
Kennedy, age 5.
SGM. McLochlin joined the United States Army on August 22, 1986 and served on active duty with the elite 2/75th Ranger battalion
until May 26, 1990.
SGM. McLochlin parachuted into the Panama canal zone on December 20, 1989 during operation just cause. He was deployed
as a member of the Indiana Army National Guard from January 1991 thru March 1991 for operation desert shield/storm.
SGM. McLochlin was then deployed from February 2004 thru December 2004 to Bosnia/Kosovo in support of operation joint endeavor.
SGM. McLochlin's final deployment was from October 2005 to July 2006 to Afghanistan for operation enduring freedom.
SGM. McLochlin's military awards and decorations include the Bronze star, Army commendation medal ( 5th award ),
Army achievement medal ( 3rd award ), Ranger tab, Combat Infantryman badge, expert Infantryman badge, Parachute badge with
Bronze star, and Pathfinder badge. SGM. McLochlin is also recommended for the Bronze star medal with V device for Valor, the Purple heart, and the Combat Infantry badge with star.
SGM. McLochlin also served his community as a police officer for the Rochester City Police Department from 1993 to 1999.
In 1999 he served the City of Plymouth Indiana as a Police officer until he gave his life in combat action defending freedom.
SGM. Jeffrey A. McLochlin is a man of honor, courage, integrity, and had a commitment to family, community, and country the likes
of which one rarely will see.
You can honor this great American hero, who gave his life defending freedom, by keeping his memory alive.
Det. Fulton County Sheriff's Department
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