OSI: Finding the truth for Herk Nation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A controlled perimeter wrapped in fluorescent yellow tape demands curious bystanders stay back from the crime scene. Armed agents circle the tape, while crime scene investigators carefully analyze the scene, tagging, logging and preserving evidence for forensic scientists to analyze later.

When thinking of a special agent, some immediately think of the portrayal on television, but in the case of the Office of Special Investigations, there is much more to it.

OSI agents assigned to Detachment 327 work around-the-clock to tactfully identify, detect, deter and neutralize threats, while maintaining good order and discipline across the installation, allowing Airmen to maintain readiness against increasingly capable adversaries.

“Although they wear a different uniform, my agents are Airmen just like everyone else,” said Special Agent Steven Cicchetto, Detachment 327 commander. “My agents strive to integrate into, and support the Team Little Rock mission which they accomplish by running timely, effective investigations. Our goal is to minimize impact on an affected unit so they may focus on the mission and maintain the highest level of readiness.”

While accomplishing the mission, the role of special agents is to focus on conducting investigations into criminal, fraud, counterintelligence, internal security, and other security concerns.

“Normally my day-to-day tasks involve giving briefings to intelligence units as well as going out to squadrons ensuring they know they have someone to whom they can report suspicious activities,” Special Agent Josh Curry said.

Curry said the connections he makes by educating people through interviews and briefings is the most rewarding part of his job.

“I love my job because it allows me to get out and meet people,” Curry said. “The most common tool we use is interviews — no matter what the investigation is, we are always interviewing somebody.”

Maintaining public trust and cooperation is integral to the success of such an investigative, fact-finding agency.

“Our career field is only as good as the information we are given,” Special Agent Russ Ward said. “Luckily, the base population and local authorities help by providing accurate and timely information.”

Although most agents specialize in one specific area, they are capable of and trained to execute all requirements OSI demands.

“Just because I’m a counterintelligence agent, doesn’t mean I don’t also help out on the criminal side,” Curry said. “We conduct a variety of criminal investigations to include, narcotics, sexual assault, fraud, violent crimes up to homicide, and death.”

Even though OSI offers ample ways to assist others, the job does not come without its challenges. 

“The hardest part of the job for me is crimes committed against children,” Ward said. “Any crime against a child has the potential to have a lingering effect for the rest of their life.”

While the obstacles they face aren’t always easy to overcome, Ward said the gratification they get from bringing closure to victims and units ultimately makes it all worth it.

“We’re here to serve justice, protect the Air Force, and find the truth” Cicchetto said. “Everything we do is to ensure the safety and security of the Airmen on Little Rock Air Force Base is upheld.