ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. --
Brigadier General Dana Simmons, commander, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, presided over a memorial ceremony for the AFOSI Hall of Heroes on May 13.
The ceremony honored five agents lost during actions in OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM in the past year. Special Agents Ryan Balmer, Matthew Kuglics, Thomas Crowell, Nathan Schuldheiss and David Wieger were added to the hall in recognition of their ultimate sacrifices. Families and friends of all the agents were in attendance at the ceremony which began with a pre-reception for the families at the Air Force Conference Center then moved to the Andrews Community Activities Center. Also in attendance was Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, former commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, Iraq. General Rand was the commander in Iraq during the time when Special Agents Balmer and Kuglics were killed.
"All of our Airmen serving in Iraq are important and all are in the business of saving American lives while defeating the enemy, but no Air Force Airman is doing more to win the war on terror than an Airman for OSI -- you are simply our premiere warfighters," said General Rand.
General Simmons provided a speech highlighting the military tradition of memorializing those who have fallen and citing the incredible accomplishments of these stellar agents.
"Having memorials is important. It's important for us all to remember everyday what the cost of our conflicts - what the true human cost of freedom - freedom that we enjoy everyday and take for granted truly is," said General Simmons.
The ceremony then moved to the HQ AFOSI rotunda where General Simmons presided over the official unveiling of portraits of each of the agents. Honor Guard members assisted family members in the official hanging of each portrait in the Hall of Heroes located in the 3rd floor of the base headquarters building. The families were escorted through the Hall and given the Hall's history by General Simmons. He made a point to tell each family that they will forever "own" a piece of the wall and are welcomed to visit any time they wish. Families were also given full-size copies of the portraits. A post reception was held in the HQ AFOSI rotunda area giving all families and AFOSI personnel a chance to visit and remember the fallen heroes.
All of the fallen Special Agents' biographies can be found at the AFOSI public Web site at: http://www.osi.andrews.af.mil/library/fallenagents.asp