OSI: Behind the badge

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
  • Little Rock AFB Public Affairs
Disclaimer: Due to the nature of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations mission, some names of individuals have been omitted to protect their anonymity.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations plays a vital role in the U.S. Air Force. There are few jobs like that of an AFOSI agent. The special investigative teams have to ensure that they are prepared for any scenario ahead, as they face different situations each day.

The AFOSI Detachment 327 at Little Rock Air Force Base is no exception. In 2013 alone, the team opened 46 cases in the state.

AFOSI teams consist of civilians, reservists, former active-duty officers and prior enlisted personnel working together as a team.

The AFOSI defines itself as a federal law enforcement and investigative agency that operates throughout the full spectrum of conflict, seamlessly within any domain.

When deployed to areas of responsibility, AFOSI members tend to focus on terrorist threats. However, detachments at home bases often have a slightly different main focus.

"Here, our primary concerns are criminal investigations and counterintelligence," said Special Agent Himes, AFOSI Det. 327.

"The work we do is not easy," said the AFOSI Det. 327 commander. "We see a lot of bad stuff. It can be grueling, tough and dangerous. Sexual assaults, drugs and fraud are just some examples of the cases that we investigate."

Though some people can find it hard to stay motivated when surrounded by negative events, the Det. 327 team still gets the job done.

Recently, three individuals from the detachment won awards for their exceptional work performance. The detachment as a whole won the 2013 Region Level Award (equivalent to a wing level award) and also achieved runner-up as the Headquarters Detachment of the Year (equivalent to a major command level award).

The detachment commander attributes their success to the camaraderie and tenacity of the special agents.

"We rely on each other like a family," he said. "I have a team of outstanding agents who are driven deep down. We're not looking for awards or recognition. It comes down to how a special agent feels about finding the truth."

Aside from distinguished special agents, the AFOSI team also recognized outside agencies as a source of their accomplishments.

"Support from on and off base agencies greatly helps us in finding the truth," Himes said. "The partnerships we build are crucial."

The success of the AFOSI is known Air Force wide. Being a special agent for the AFOSI is a definite sought-after job. According to their official website, an AFOSI special agent is the second most-requested career field choice in the Air Force.

"It takes a certain kind of person to be an OSI agent," said Special Agent Wilson, AFOSI, Det. 327. "It's not all glitz and glam. There are long hours and lots of paperwork involved. It's not just busting down doors."

Though thousands apply, the AFOSI only accepts a small number of new special agents each year.

"It's a commitment," Wilson said. "OSI looks for type-A, intelligent, hard-working, self-motivated individuals. Knowing computers and/or languages can be a huge plus."

However, you do not need to be a special agent to help AFOSI teams and make a positive impact.

"Being educated on crimes and the adverse consequences is very useful for Airmen," Wilson said. "Helping a wingman make the right decision can save people around you from suffering serious consequences."

Crime is everywhere. However, AFOSI detachments like Det. 327 make defined progress in combating it.

"Along with drug violations, recently we have made a noticeable dent on cases of sexual assault," said Special Agent Peterson, AFOSI Det. 327.

"It is vital that Airmen do their part in preventing misconduct," said Wilson. "But when crime does occur, OSI is there to uncover the truth while assisting victims."

For more information about the AFOSI, visit www.osi.af.mil.

The AFOSI Det. 327 can be reached at (501) 987-6116