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OSI Confronts Terrorism


Terrorism became a significant threat to the Air Force in 1972 in Iran, when Islamic Marxists injured a visiting USAF general in a bomb attack. Attacks were infrequent, but some Americans were killed in Iran in the 1970s. These attacks posed a new threat to the Air Force as violent opposition to Iran's pro-Western government grew. Islamic revolution brought down the Iranian government in early 1979, and most American military personnel and their families were evacuated. OSI agents were some of the last to leave, staying behind to report on developments. At one point, the only American radio communications coming out of Iran were from the last two OSI agents in the country. They finally hid their OSI credentials, buried their guns, destroyed classified information and escaped Iran on a commercial aircraft.

War in Iraq and Afghanistan also transformed OSI operations. Because knowledge of threats to the USAF is crucial to successful operations, OSI has become a regular fixture in Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployments in a world of new threats. OSI agents were among the first American military personnel to enter Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Earlier, they had deployed to Kuwait and nearby nations during Desert Storm and related operations in the 1990s. In 2003 and after, OSI agents deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the USAF operates in unstable regions where ethnic, religious and cultural strife dominate, OSI's ability to protect the Air Force is more important than ever. Today, OSI agents continue to protect their fellow Airmen and other Americans wherever the USAF operates. OSI is working around the world to be the "Eyes of the Eagle."

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