Technical Sergeant | 932nd Civil Engineer Unit, United States Air Force Reserves
Police Officer Anthony C. Campbell, Jr.
Served: 1½ years
June 22, 2008 to December 15, 2009
Tony Campbell, after graduating from Boone County High School in 1992, immediately enlisted in the United States Air Force. Upon discharge in 1995, he joined the Air Force Reserves.
On June 22, 2008, he joined the Cincinnati Police Department as a Police Recruit and graduated the Police Academy on December 21, 2008, and was assigned to District One. He served as such until July 6, 2009, when the Air Force Reserves called him up as a Technical Sergeant and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team leader with the 932nd Civil Engineer Unit. He was deployed to southern Afghanistan during October 2009.
During his deployment to Afghanistan, Sergeant Campbell assisted in recovering and destroying over 280 pieces of ordinance and bulk explosive charges and actively thwarted enemy bomb makers by disposing of more than 1¼ tons of explosives used in improvised explosive devices.
On December 14, 2009, Sergeant Campbell and his wife, Emily, were ‘talking’ by email when he had to log off to leave for an overnight mission. That night and into the morning of December 15, Sergeant Campbell was engaged in ground operations against the enemy in the vicinity of Hyderabad, Central Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was tasked with supporting a coalition deliberate cordon and search mission in support of Task Force 4. Sergeant Campbell cleared a safe path to the mission objective and provided armed security over-watch for his four-man team.
Sergeant Campbell then began the task of clearing a route for follow-on forces through the gates of the objective entry point. He recognized an improvised explosive device in the team’s path. He moved the team away from the danger area and, while doing so, the device detonated. His actions enabled his team members to safely evacuate the lethal zone, but he was killed in the explosion.
A few hours after their email session, Mrs. Campbell was awakened and notified of his death. Officer Campbell was also survived by his parents, a daughter, Jordan (7), a son, Ryker (2), and a stepson, Devin Ruberg (11).
Officer Campbell’s body was flown from Dover Air Force Base to Wright Patterson Air Force Base on Monday, December 21, 2009. From there, multiple police agencies escorted him to a funeral home in Erlanger, Kentucky. Visitation was held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 22, 2009, at Florence Baptist Church at Mount Zion, 642 Mt. Zion Road in Florence. The funeral service was 1 p.m. at the church. After the service, they processed to the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Williamstown where he is buried.
For his heroism and intrepidity, Sergeant Campbell was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart Medal, the Air Force Combat Action Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
- Officer Campbell is the third area law enforcement officer to have died on December 15 in the service of his community/country; the others being Florence Town Marshal Clutterbuck in 1907 and Walton Merchant Patrolman Baker in 1919. He is the second Cincinnati officer to have died in military action; the first being Patrolman Biddle during World War II. He is also the second slain Cincinnati officer issued Badge 394; the first being Patrolman Boers in 1917.
- On April 24, 2010 Cincinnati City Council revised Cincinnati Municipal Code §306-40 to include that police officers who died in combat should have their badges and badge numbers retired. On October 17, 2014, Cincinnati Police Lietuenant Stephen R Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical President, requested of Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell to retire Badge 394 in honor of Patrolman Boers and Police Officer Campbell. Chief Blackwell agreed and within two weeks retired the badge and badge number. Both were delivered to the Greater Cincinnati Police Musem during June 2015.
If you have information, information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised on May 26, 2013, by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.