Air Force OSI honors founder at ceremony

Released: Aug 7, 1997

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- At the start of its golden anniversary celebration, the Air Force's chief investigative service paused to recall its founding, honored one of its top leaders and rewrote its motto to reflect its ever-changing mission.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations ceremony took place Aug. 1 at Arlington National Cemetery.

"For the last two decades, OSI's motto has been, 'Helping to protect a great way of life,'" said AFOSI Commander Brig. Gen. Francis X. Taylor. "Today I announce our new motto: 'Preserving the legacy, protecting our future.'

"As world events continue to unfold, the men and women of OSI will continue to serve our Air Force around the globe, providing our core investigative capability ... Our legacy of service, integrity and excellence is intact and marches on today in the footsteps of the 11,000 men and women who served in OSI."

The program at the cemetery's memorial amphitheater began with a wreath-laying ceremony, where more than 400 members, past and present, paid tribute to Lt. Gen. Joseph Carroll, OSI's first commander. The audience also included foreign dignitaries, federal agency executives and senior military officers.

Shortly after the inception of the Air Force as a separate military entity in 1947, Carroll, then a civilian member of the FBI, was loaned to the new service to organize the Office of Special Investigations. He entered active duty as a brigadier general to run the Air Force's new organization from 1948 to 1955. Carroll later became the Air Force inspector general.

He retired as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1969 and died in 1991.

Carroll's move to place the new agency in line with the IG was pivotal, according to Lt. Gen. David L. Vesely, Air Force assistant vice chief of staff.

"As a member of the Air Staff and a participant in the formation of policy, the IG could offer a degree of protection to the fledging new organization," Vesely said. "From its beginning, he wanted the new OSI to be a team player."

Taylor said Carroll symbolizes OSI's long-standing principles since its inception, as well as today's Air Force core values: integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do.

Today's OSI is responsible for providing commanders independent professional investigative services regarding fraud, counterintelligence and major criminal matters.

Reflecting on the past and looking into the future, Taylor said at the Arlington ceremony that OSI is ready for new challenges.

"In this most hallowed of American places, here among our honored veterans and national leaders, men and women who fought and died for our nation, we remember their service, their integrity and their existence," Taylor said.

"Today, as we begin to celebrate 50 years of serving our Air Force and this great nation, I salute our past and embrace a great future."