Bronxites saluted a family man who believed in liberty and the ‘American Cause’.
On Sunday, June 10, Councilman Mark Gjonaj joined relatives in dedicating the intersection of Laconia and Waring avenues as ‘Law Enforcement Professional Joseph A. Morabito Way.’
The heartfelt ceremony honored the late 54-year-old law enforcement and military veteran tragically killed overseas five years ago.
“Today and always we salute Joseph Morabito’s dedication to our country, his service and sacrifice will proudly be remembered,” stated Gjonaj.
Morabito was born to the late Joseph Anthony and Antoinette Morabito on June 10, 1958 in Allerton.
For over 34 years, he served in law enforcement starting as a military police officer assigned to the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk and Naval Investigation Service.
His impressive resume included time as a U.S. Veterans Administration Investigation Section federal officer; U.S. Department of Defense Police Counter Terrorism Task Force lieutenant; a certified SWAT officer, supervisor and training officer; certified in VIP Protection and Police General Topics Instruction; firearms instructor; Counter Terrorism Task Force School supervisor; a U.S. Treasury Department federal lieutenant officer and an undercover narcotics officer.
Upon retirement in 1999, Morabito and his family moved to Haines Falls, NY, but he often visited the Bronx while on leave.
In 2006, Dyncorp International and the U.S. State Department hired Morabito as an international law enforcement professional. He served his first Iraq tour that same year.
While stationed in Haiti in 2008, he earned 14 commendations and two Service Stars for various missions he conducted as a civilian international police officer and instructor and Haiti National Police Force advisor.
Between 2009 to 2013, Morabito was assigned to various MPUs and task forces while stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was the Scorpion Police Academy’s lead instructor and an advisor to the Iraqi National Police Force.
Morabito accompanied the INP on missions and raids into hostile situations.
According to his wife Andrea, he was affectionally known as ‘Joey Pots and Pans’ by troops stationed in Afghanistan.
“He became famous for the meals he cooked and he grew into a fatherly figure for the younger soldiers,” she shared.
On Saturday, June 8, 2013, Morabito was one of three service members fatally shot by a man dressed in Afghan National Army attire while teaching policing to residents at an Afghan National Army base in Paktika. The gunman was slain by American forces.
The night before, Morabito was awarded his own customized chef’s hat and apron and cooking utensils by his fellow troops in a surprise ceremony.
A fan of the Yahoo! cooking show, ‘Chow Ciao with Fabio Viviani,’ Morabito often shared photos of meals he created in Afghanistan utilizing the show’s recipes to its Facebook page.
Chow Ciao aired a special segment ‘Behind the Stove: A Tribute to Joe Morabito’ on July 2013.
He was posthumously awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom and a memorial bench near his Haines Fall home.