NEW YORK - The death of a city firefighter in Afghanistan this week has brought renewed attention to many other first responders serving overseas.
Christopher Slutman was among three American soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan earlier this week.
Slutman worked at Ladder 27 in the Claremont section of the Bronx he also served as a U.S. Marine.
Currently, 316 members of the NYPD and FDNY are on leave from their city jobs and are serving in the military according to the to agencies.
Officer Joseph Strong deals with military issues for the Police Benevolent Association.
"Active federal service, fighting in the war on terror. Either overseas or stateside," Strong said.
Some of the NYPD and FDNY employees are protecting people at subway stations, bridges and tunnels in the tri-state area. Others are sent overseas to fight and train.
It's a fact many New Yorkers may not know. Thousands of first responders are members of various branches of the military. The NYPD has more than 1,212 employees who are active in the reserves and National Guard. And they can be sent overseas at anytime.
Officer Strong knows what it means to wear both an NYPD and Army uniform. He joined the military in 1984 and the police department in 1986.
"I served in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1990 and 1991 during the first Gulf War. I also served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007," Strong said.
Currently there are 4,173 police department employees who are also military veterans.
The FDNY has 1,425 firefighters and EMTs who are reservists or veterans.
"So right now we have a police officer currently serving in Afghanistan whose father was killed on September 11, 2001. That young son has grown up knowing his father was taken from us on September 11 and now he himself is serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan," Strong said.
Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq started after the terror attacks on the U.S., four city firefighters have been killed in the line of duty overseas and three police officers.
Officer Strong says first responders are proud of their service, but their loved ones pay a price for that dedication.
"I feel more worried for the family members who have to sit home and think about what is going on with their loved one overseas," he said.
The veteran cop and retired soldier believes it's incredible how first responders support and protect the city and nation.