News: OSI protects the innocent, base, airmen
Story by Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- There are bad guys in this world who live their lives trying to destroy, harm and terrorize innocent people. And in response to those who prey on the weak, the Air Force relies on special agents to help counter threats and malicious behavior of bad people.
Being deployed to a foreign nation brings challenges to protect the people and assets on and off base and the Airmen at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar have relied on the work of the Air Force Office of Special Investigation to protect them from domestic and foreign threats.
The special agents who make up the OSI's Expeditionary Detachment 241 are here to conduct criminal investigations and assist in force protection efforts.
"Our number one priority in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility is to ensure our forces are protected from threats and we work 24 hours a day to ensure any local threat made to harm people or assets is investigated," said Special Agent Rob, who is stationed at Al Udeid. "Our other functions are to conduct criminal investigations such as sexual assault, drug distribution and fraud."
The biggest challenge faced by the OSI detachment here is balancing sexual assault criminal investigations with counter intelligent operations, Rob said.
"We investigate sexual assaults and due to the recent changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, we are working very hard to run full federal investigations on all sexual assault cases. Sexual assault in the Air Force is not tolerated and making people feel comfortable in their workplace environment is a top priority. Sexual assault pulls away from our primary mission, Rob said."
When working a sexual assault case special agents are looking for facts and truth, Rob said.
"Our mission in this type of case, as in all, is to run objective, unbiased cases that provide the supported commanders with the clearest picture of the truth through what really happened," Rob said.
Whether special agents are working on criminal investigations or force protection, every airman on base is affected by OSI's mission.
"Airmen rely on our mission to keep them safe every day," Rob said.
"Force protection measures also create a safer work environment for airmen. If a terror group is looking to cause harm to the people on base by contaminating the water or food supply, stopping those threats can save your life and mine. I consider every airman a brother or sister in arms and I would protect them the same way I would protect a family member."
Deployed OSI detachments work with judge advocates, medical professionals, security forces and host nation security agencies on a daily basis.
"Though being exposed to other cultures and meeting people from other countries is a rewarding part of being deployed, working with host nation law enforcement also has its challenges," Rob said. "We rely on interpreters to help communicate with the Qataris to learn about local threats. Working directly with our host nation helps ensure we strengthen our relationship with them. We would not be able to do the mission without a strong relationship with our mission partners."