Selbyville resident Floyd Toomey recently resumed his duties as Dagsboro’s Chief of Police, after having been deployed to Afghanistan for a year.
“Service has been my life. I’m a police officer. I’m a father, grandfather,” he said. “Service is just my life. I’ve always served in some capacity.”
Toomey, a Sussex County native, first enlisted in the National Guard in 1973 but took a 19-year break in service before returning to the Guard.
“It was drastically different from my young service back in the 70s to my service now,” he said of his most recent deployment. “When I was a young soldier and was stationed in Germany, it took a week to get a letter out and another week for them to respond. You communicated a couple times a month. Telephone calls were too expensive for a young soldier you couldn’t afford them. You talked to home if you were fortunate twice a month, through the written word.
“This time I was fortunate enough to have internet capability and I communicated almost daily with my wife and family. The communications alone really, it makes the separation more sustainable.”
Toomey’s wife, Anne, said that she was thankful for the ability to communicate with him on a daily basis during his deployment.
“We Skyped pretty much twice a day unless he was on lockdown and they cut off communications,” she said. “That made things easier than back when I would have only heard from him every two weeks or so. It was hard but it wasn’t as hard as it could’ve been.”
This was the first time Toomey, who had had previous tours in Germany, Korea and Hawaii, had been deployed to a combat situation.
During his deployment, Toomey was part of the Headquarters Detachment, 115 Military Police Battalion in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
“I was the Afghanistan National Security Forces Development NCIOC or Non Commissioned Officer In Charge,” he explained. “My primary duties were to oversee the training and development of the 3,000 uniformed Afghan police that were located in Kandahar city. It was an ongoing mission. We were in the final stages of guiding them to be independent of U.S. support.”
Toomey said his time in Afghanistan was “exciting and rewarding.”
“It was intense, with long hours, short rest. It was very dry and hot,” he added.
While in Afghanistan, Toomey flew the American flag at Forward Operating Base Walton for members of his family. Toomey flew a flag for stepdaughter Alyssa Murray on June 29, the day she gave up her crown as the reigning Miss Delaware.
“The important members of my family, my children, my stepchildren, on their birthdays or in important dates to them, I would fly the flag for them,” he explained. “The day she gave up her crown, on that day at our compound FOB Walton in Kandahar I had purchased a flag in honor of her service as Miss Delaware. Our Commander and Sergeant Major signed off on it. I did it for the Delaware Chiefs of Police Association, I flew one for my parents on their anniversary.”
Toomey left Delaware on Nov. 2 to travel to Texas for training before flying to Afghanistan on Dec. 24. He did not return to the States until Sept. 25, 2013.
Throughout his military career, Toomey has received numerous accolades, including the Army Commendation medal, three awards of the Army Achievement Medal, the Afghan Campaign Medal and the NATO Medal.
He was also recently awarded the Bronze Star medal, which is fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the US Military. It is awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
“I was fortunate enough that someone recognized my contribution to the combat operations we were conducting,” said Toomey.
Toomey has been a police officer for 27 years, during which he was awarded the Silver Star for heroism while he was an officer of the Georgetown Police Department, after apprehending a suspect who was holding children hostage. He also received the Medal of Merit for the apprehension of a murder suspect.
At the time of Toomey’s deployment he had been married to Anne for less than two months.
“We just got married Sept. 9 and he left Nov. 2. We were still in the newlywed stage. He missed our first anniversary. He was here when Alyssa won Miss Delaware, but he missed Miss America. He missed a lot of stuff…” she said. “Of course we’re very proud of him. It’s a big sacrifice. Serving his country was very important to him — It was his duty. When we started dating he mentioned, ‘oh I might have to go to Afghanistan.’ And I’m thinking, ‘no, they’re bringing everyone home. You’re not going to have to go.’ But the longer we went on dating, then it was, ‘yep, I’m going.’”
Anne Toomey said that for his return, the family held a small welcome home party.
“We just had our family. We had a big welcome home banner with lights and the red white and blue. The day they came home we went over to the Armory. Remi, my 9-year-old was putting yellow ribbons around the trees.”
Anne Toomey said she’s happy to have him home, and have life return to normal.
“It’s really good to have him home. Now it’s kind of catch up time. It’s got to be hard to adjust. He’s done well.”
Anne Toomey said the community’s support during his deployment was overwhelming, and that she’s truly grateful.
“The community… it’s been a wonderful thing,” she said. “People who you don’t even know were so supportive and happy for us. Everyone was so excited for us when he was coming home. And while he was gone if I needed anything, people were always asking, and willing to do anything. People were so very kind.”
She added that she’s proud of her husband and his sacrifice, and dedication to his country.
“I really feel like he gave his 150 percent and was very pleased with what he did. So were we — He made a difference,” she said. “I support him. He just felt that it was necessary for everyone to do. If not, none of us would have any rights. As much as I hated for him to leave, especially so soon after we were married, I understood it was something he felt he needed to do. He feels very strongly it was his duty to go and support our country.”
Floyd Toomey requested that the article be dedicated to Sgt. 1st Class Trenton Rhea, who was part of the Combined Task Force Chesapeake. Rhea passed away on May 15, 2013, while deployed in Afghanistan.
“We had a lot of good soldiers that we served with,” he added.