The Early Years – 1966 to 1972
The first local group to organize was the Greater Los Angeles Chapter. Its charter was effective 3 February 1967. By the end of FY 72 (30 Jun 72), only one more chapter, Rocky Mountain State (then known as the Denver Chapter), had been organized. By 1992, twenty-seven chapters had been chartered, but nine have become dormant or been disestablished.
Dues were first established at the rate of $10.00 per annum. Initially, there was a Membership Application fee of $10.00 assessed. This fee was later eliminated and dues subsequently increased, over the years, to the current $35.00 per year. The first Association Directory was published in September 1968 for the year 1968-69 and listed 192 members. It was to become a model for later years. Currently, an annual Directory is published in the summer months.
As might be expected, these early years were difficult. By 30 June 1967, 200 members had joined, but only 46 more in the succeeding 5 years. The late 1960s was the beginning of the time period when OSI Special Agents were commencing to retire in larger numbers, but a prohibition on membership by DOD and federal rules for active duty personnel seriously impacted membership recruitment as there appears to have been no procedure for reaching new retirees. Not all the members who had joined retained active membership. By 1972 active membership had dropped to 120 and there was concerned for the Association’s longevity. The DOD and federal rules regulations were subsequently eliminated and now, in addition to retirees, membership is open to any military and civilian presently in, or who previously served with, AFOSI. This eligibility includes both special agent and support career fields.
To the rescue came member Charles D. Woolhouse who had attended the early Association organizing meetings as an observer because of the ban on active duty membership. Upon retirement on 1 Nov 1966, he joined the Association as a Regular Member. Bob Sheeran in an article in the Global Alliance on Woolhouse wrote that “The membership stood at 120 in early 1972 and had not increased in two years. No dues were being paid; no membership directory had been published since mid-1967 (sic); Association incoming mail had not been answered in over a year.” Woolhouse was instrumental in calling an emergency meeting to get the Association moving. Only 12 members appeared for the meeting. Woolhouse volunteered to send letters to delinquent dues members, to work up a new membership application and brochure, to service the Association mail box, to respond to all back and current mail, to process new members and send all monies to the Treasurer. The offer was accepted and Woolhouse drafted his wife, Ann, to help in this effort to resuscitate the Association.