As a staff sergeant with the United States Army, Mawn will serve a one-year deployment at a detention facility in Afghanistan.
“We’ll be working with, assisting and training Afghans in how to run the facility,” Mawn said.
Mawn expects to arrive in Afghanistan sometime in June. He, and the rest of his unit, will undergo training before going overseas. This training will be both mission specific and a review of the basics, Mawn said.
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming deployment,” Mawn said. “The unit I’m with is well trained, they have good leadership and they’re ready to go for the mission.”
Mawn joined the Army in 2002 and served in active duty through 2005. During this time he served with The Old Guard, the Army’s Honor Guard at Fort Myer in Virginia.
“Their mission is to represent the Army to the nation,” Mawn said. “We did a lot of ceremonial duties.”
One of the most well known duties of the battalion is they serve as the tomb guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Mawn did not serve as a tomb guard, noting that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is the second least-awarded decoration of the United States military, behind the Army Astronaut Badge.
Prior to serving with the Old Guard, Mawn underwent basic training at Fort Sill, Okla., beginning on Aug. 18, 2002. He wanted to enlist after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“After 2001, I thought it was probably time to serve my country,” Mawn said.
The reason for his re-enlistment was similar.
“I still felt, as a member of the reserves, there was still an opportunity for me to serve,” Mawn said.
He re-enlisted in 2010, and had the full support and backing of the Norwood Fire Department.
“(Norwood Fire) has been 100 percent supportive,” Mawn said. “When I told Chief (Michael) Howard I was re-enlisting, he said ‘I’m proud of you.’ Any time I talked to Acting Chief (Ron) Maggio, he asked, ‘What do you need from me?’ And when I told Chief (Anthony) Greeley that I was deploying, he said ‘We’ll miss you and what do you need us to do for you?’”
The department raised an American service flag to signify Mawn’s service.
“It is with honor that the Norwood Fire Department flies the American Service Flag for Firefighter/EMT Joseph Mawn as he begins his deployment to Afghanistan with the United States Army,” firefighter spokesman George Morrice wrote in an email. “Firefighter Mawn exemplifies the word service as he protects the people of Norwood on the fire department and his country with the Armed Forces. The Norwood Fire Department wishes FF Mawn a safe journey overseas and looks forward to his return after his tour of duty.”