AFOSISA, Inc.: A Look Back As We Enter a New Century
The Preamble to the Association By-Laws states “The objectives of the ASSOCIATION OF FORMER OSI SPECIAL AGENTS, INC., (AFOSISA) are to maintain and further friendships emanating from service with or employment by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI); to assist one another through combined efforts and mutual association; to perpetuate the ideals and principles of AFOSI; to facilitate contact with members on a worldwide basis; and to unite former and present AFOSI Special Agents in the common interest of promoting the security and welfare of each other, AFOSISA, AFOSI, the United States Air Force and the United States.”
Those objectives are little changed from thirty-five years ago when one man in Southern California started with a dream — a dream that resonated among a small group of retired OSI Special Agents, who articulated their desires for an Association essentially as the preamble states. Starting with twenty-eight members in 1966, active membership has grown to 1,976+/- at June 1, 2001. Of the first 200 members who joined by 30 June 1967, 66 are now known to be deceased, but 59 of the remaining 134 still retained their affiliation in FY 2000.
Clearly a new generation is represented by this growth. In actuality, one can perhaps detect almost four AFOSI generations in the membership. The first generation could be characterized as those charter members of OSI who came from AFCID and AFCIC as the initial cadre. Then a group arrived who came from successful careers in the Army Air Force and the new and independent USAF in other career fields. Following them came the generation that essentially entered OSI directly (or with minimal other Air Force service) and served full careers in OSI. The fourth generation can be characterized as those now on active duty who are joining the Association in greater numbers. All of these groups are represented in the membership. Probably as much separates these generations in terms of attitudes as there are commonalities. Thus, perhaps it is fitting to look again at our beginnings and the highlights, as well as some low points, of the past 35 years so we may have a better understanding of who we are and what we have been collectively seeking.
A word about source material is relevant at this point as a caveat. Administration of the Association has always been by volunteers — for many years a labor of love by one former member and his wife — Charles and Ann Woolhouse. Data for this article comes from three general sources: first, the available documentary evidence in the files of the National HQ; secondary sources with heavy reliance on the AFOSISA Newsletter and the Global Alliance, specifically articles written by the former, long-time Editor, Bob Sheeran; and third, some recollections of members.