AFRC SA sews on history-making stripe

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joshua King
  • OSI Public Affairs

Sometimes destiny comes knocking, other times it kicks the door in.

Chief Master Sgt. Erik Powell experienced the latter 16 years ago, when he witnessed the Office of Special Investigations raid an apartment near his friend’s residence and arrest two drug-dealers, with the help of agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Shortly after seeing OSI in action, Powell began his own process of joining the agency.

Powell’s OSI journey brought him to an historic milestone: the first Active Guard/Reserve chief master sergeant in the agency’s history. Powell’s rise to the top Air Force enlisted rank was observed during a promotion ceremony at Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, June 30, 2022. His effective date of promotion was July 1, 2022. 

“It is an honor, it is a blessing, it is the accumulation of a lot of peoples hard work,” said Powell. “It signifies that the command cares about the AGR’s and career progression.”

Previously, there was one senior master sergeant and 10 master sergeants in the Air Force Reserve Command OSI hierarchy. At the beginning of fiscal year 2024 there will be one chief, three senior master sergeants and 10 master sergeants.

“I hope I can enlighten our active-duty force as to what our [Individual Mobilization Augmentees] bring to the table, both when they’re on orders and in their civilian capacity,” Powell said. “My main goal is incorporating all of our OSI reservists in one and getting us back incorporated with the active-duty agents.”

A big difference between active-duty and AGR special agents is geographical. The majority of AGR agents are hours away from their leadership at a given base, said Powell, who is stationed at Robins AFB, Georgia, as the OSI Liaison to Headquarters AFRC and the National Guard Bureau.

“OSI is known for autonomy, in this position you really have autonomy,” the new chief said. “You are literally in charge of OSI operations at that location.”

Powell believes opening these positions and the opportunities to advance as an AGR will bring many special agents to the team.

“Being an AGR is the best kept secret in OSI,” Powell said. “You get to do everything that OSI does, in a two-man shop with the utmost autonomy.”

OSI continues to grow and ensure they are doing what the Department of the Air Force needs, Powell said.

“This milestone is important, not only to the development opportunities for our enlisted AGR force, but also for OSI’s ability to provide greater connection to the mission and people in AFRC,” said OSI Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Gow. “We appreciate the partnership with AFRC to make this happen and excited for this opportunity continue to grow.”