Fallen AFOSI agents honored at Peterson

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rose Gudex
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 8th Field Investigations Squadron of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations honored their fallen comrades during a resiliency session Jan. 8 at the Peterson Air Force Base Fitness Center.

Six Airmen, four OSI special agents and two security forces defenders, were killed while on patrol near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan on Dec. 21, 2015.

While the fallen Airmen were not stationed in Colorado, many agents here knew the individuals killed in action and worked with them at some point in the past, said Special Agent Stacey Polu, AFOSI 8th FIS Flight Chief.

The 8th FIS is based at Peterson AFB, Colo. However, flights are located at Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB, she said.  The purpose was to bring together special agents from both locations and share stories and resiliency techniques in an open forum.

"The goal was to have the squadron come together and talk about what was on all of our minds," Polu said. "Leadership told stories about their experiences in the past and what helped them personally get through tough situations, which put things in perspective for some of the younger agents."

After traumatic events, there isn't only one way to cope with the stress and loss, said Staff Sgt. Jeannie Hackett, Disaster Mental Health NCOIC at Schriever AFB. Airmen learned the health benefits of talking to one another for comfort and ensuring their wingmen know the resources available to them.

In addition, Staff Sgt. Alexandra Massengale, 21st Force Support Squadron resiliency trainer, talked about the four pillars of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness and the importance of finding which one helps individuals cope with such an ordeal and how to balance stressors in life.

"Over the first 56 years since OSI's inception, OSI lost two agents in the line of duty. In the last eleven years, OSI has lost eleven agents, one professional staff member, and two defenders," said Lt. Col. Laurinda Reifsteck, AFOSI 8th FIS commander. "Because of the intense mission we execute, we are all impacted when we lose a member of the OSI family.  It's important to take time out to honor our Fallen Airmen, reflect on our own resiliency, and be there to support each other."

After several Airmen shared their stories, experiences and how they were able to persevere after past losses, the team participated in a Hero Workout of the Day to honor the six Airmen. Special Agent Ryan Cobb, AFOSI 8th FIS at Schriever AFB, put together a workout with a station for each of the fallen Airmen. He encouraged his wingmen to think of each individual through every rep, every station and every cycle.

"We are all, in some way, affected by the events from that day in Afghanistan," he said. "This (workout) will display our (8th Field Investigations Squadron) unity and honor those fallen comrades."

Whether an OSI agent, a chaplain providing spiritual care or an Airman supporting the resiliency session, each individual participating in the workout honored and remembered the six who gave their all in Afghanistan.

The resiliency session ended with everyone in a circle doing pushups together for those killed in action. They shouted the names of each individual as a symbol of remembrance and to honor them, driving home the idea that while those killed in the line of duty may not be from the same duty station, they were part of an extended family across the globe.