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Detachment 811: Keeping Whiteman AFB Safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryson Britt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), like many military organizations, has a rich history and has influenced popular culture and movies. “Men in Black” draws its inspiration from the early days of UFO sightings and the shadowy military intelligence organizations that investigated them.

While OSI may carry a similar reputation, Special Agent Kade Castleberry, OSI, Detachment 811 (Det 811), Criminal Investigations Branch chief, says they bear little in common with the shadowy organizations that inspire tales of alien autopsies.

“I would say there’s a common misconception with people seeing OSI as this entity that lurks in the shadows and just waits to bust people, and that’s not the case,” Castleberry said. “We’re just here to help people and get them the justice they deserve.”

OSI, the lead federal investigative service for the United States Air and Space Forces, was founded in 1948 after a congressional suggestion to consolidate Air Force investigational activities, including criminal, counterintelligence, and fraud investigations.

Modeled after the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the organization was tasked with providing independent and unbiased investigations throughout the Air Force.

To help them achieve this goal, individual OSI detachments are separate from their installation’s chain of command, Castleberry said.

“Having that separation from the chain of command makes it possible to conduct the most thorough and unbiased investigations without outside influence,” he said.

While OSI is independent, they do collaborate with other agencies on base, like base security forces, allowing for thorough investigations, Castleberry said.

One thing that helps with that is having skilled OSI agents who have served in a variety of capacities within the Air Force, said Special Agent Chad Maze, OSI, Det 811, Criminal Investigations Branch. Maze was a career Airman before he decided to make the switch to OSI.

“I was in civil engineering before this,” he said, “but I’ve met former maintainers, intel, and everything else in OSI. Having that diversity of knowledge allows us to understand different sides of cases.”

Although special agents come from all different careers and walks of life prior to becoming an special agent, misconceptions about OSI still form, partly due to the influence of pop culture and police procedural TV shows, like NCIS, a show about the Navy’s counterpart to OSI.

“There are some similarities between how the show depicts investigations and how they are actually conducted, but there is a lot more behind the scenes that you can’t summarize in a 30-minute episode,” Castleberry said.

Investigations can be highly complex, and the process can be difficult for people and traumatizing to relive, he said.

“The most rewarding thing for me is bringing justice to our survivors of sexual assault and crimes against children,” Castleberry said. “You have to use this opportunity to listen to survivors and be a support system for them throughout the course of the investigation.”

By taking this approach to investigations, he said, OSI can ensure they are providing justice to all Airmen and Guardians involved in an investigation.