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Slain San Diego officer had survived combat in Iraq, Afghanistan

August 8, 2011 | 10:02 am

Jeremy Henwood When Jeremy Henwood was in Afghanistan as the commander of a Marine logistics company, his letters to the families of his troops were replete with support for the U.S. mission and pride in his Marines.

Henwood, a San Diego police officer, was a captain in the Marine Corps Reserves, assigned as commander of Bravo Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group. The Texas native had done two combat deployments to Iraq before deploying last year to Afghanistan.

After surviving combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, he died early Sunday of wounds suffered Saturday afternoon in the line of duty as a beat cop in the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights.

From his missives to Bravo Company families, it is clear that Henwood took to the logistics assignment with enthusiasm. The monthly newsletters brim with announcements about jobs well done, promotions earned, tasks accomplished.

“There is a sense of pride here that is genuine and infectious,” Henwood wrote. “Your loved ones have poured out everything they’ve got and we’re finally making waves, in a good way.”

A logistics group provides the convoys that supply frontline troops with food, water, weaponry and other “sustainment” goods.  Marines from a logistics group man the heavy equipment that helps Marines  build secure outposts and occasionally ferret out buried bombs, the Taliban’s favorite weapon.

Logistics work is dangerous, arduous, exacting and critical to the success of the Marine mission in Helmand province, a longtime Taliban stronghold.

While he could have stayed in the relative security of the heavily guarded Camp Leatherneck, Henwood made a point to be “outside the wire” to celebrate the Marine Corps' birthday in November with frontline troops.

“I can think of no better way to carry on our tradition of honor, courage and commitment than being in the field” with Marines, he wrote.

Henwood had joined the Marines in the enlisted ranks and was a sergeant before becoming an officer. An infantryman by training, he went to Iraq during the assault on Baghdad in 2003 and then the fight in Fallouja in 2004.

In May, the 36-year-old Henwood returned to the San Diego Police Department. He was assigned patrol at the City Heights station. He had studied criminology at the University of Texas before joining the Marines.

Even after returning to the Police Department, he remained in the Marine reserves, assigned to Camp Pendleton. Promoted to captain in 2005, he was in line to become a major.

One of the 4th Marine Logistics Group newsletters before the end of the deployment carried an essay by Navy Chaplain Ken Amador.

“Life is full of risks,” he wrote. “No matter how careful a person is, there will always be something that wasn’t planned for.”

For Jeremy Henwood, that something arrived about 5:30 p.m. Saturday as he sat in his patrol car at a stop sign in City Heights, waiting to aid someone that he thought had signaled that he needed help.

Instead, a gunman, for reasons yet unexplained, leveled a shotgun blast directly at the police vehicle, striking Henwood in the head.

Henwood, whose mother is a physician and whose father is a dentist, died hours later despite what the police chief called heroic efforts by paramedics and medical personnel at a local emergency room to save him. The family agreed to have his organs used for transplant, a decision Chief Bill Lansdowne called courageous.


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 -- Tony Perry in San Diego

 Photo: San Diego Police Officer Jeremy Henwood. Credit: San Diego Police Department