News>Last AF Security Service Airman bids farewell
Lt. Gen. John C. Koziol retires June 1 as the last uniformed member of the United States Air Force Security Service. He's the last bluesuiter whose career spanned through the USAFSS, the Electronic Security Command, the Air Force Intelligence Command, the Air Intelligence Agency and the current Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency. (U. S. Air Force photo)
Lee Anthony, right, President of the Freedom Through Vigilance Association, the alumni group of the Air Force intelligence community, describes the 'last man standing' award to recipient Lt. Gen. John C. Koziol March 31 here. Koziol retires June 1 as the last uniformed member of the United States Air Force Security Service. (U. S. Air Force photo by William Belcher)
Guest speaker Lt. Gen. John C. Koziol addresses attendees March 29 at the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency Annual Awards Banquet here. Koziol, the first Air Force ISR Agency commander, retires June 1 as the last uniformed member of the United States Air Force Security Service, the original iteration of the agency. (U. S. Air Force photo by William Belcher)
by Wayne Amann
Air Force ISR Agency Public Affairs
5/23/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO -- LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- For Lt. Gen. John C. (Craig) Koziol, bidding adieu culminates more than his three-plus decades as an intelligence game-changer.
On the eve of his Air Force retirement capping a distinguished 36-year career, his goodbye to the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, one of his many command assignments, signaled the end of an era.
Koziol, who officially retires from active duty June 1, is the last uniformed member from the United States Air Force Security Service, the original iteration of today's Air Force ISR Agency.
USAFSS was established Oct. 20, 1948. Then 2nd Lt. Koziol joined its ranks as a signals intelligence officer in March 1977. He's the last bluesuiter to progress through the USAFSS, the Electronic Security Command, the Air Force Intelligence Command, the Air Intelligence Agency and the current Air Force ISR Agency.
"I'm very proud to have been a member of USAFSS," Koziol said. "The initial years in that organization taught me what it meant about the mission, the importance of the enlisted force to the organization, and the principals of selflessness, integrity and character."
Koziol retires as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) for Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support; and the Director of the Department of Defense Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force.
Prior to that assignment he commanded the AIA and was a major architect in its transformation into the Air Force ISR Agency.
"This is more than a re-designation, this is a signal to everyone that we are going to expand and reach out with increased capability," Koziol said at the organization's re-alignment ceremony here June 15, 2007. "Airmen conducting operations in our Air Operations Centers today need seamless, integrated ISR to support the combined forces air component commander, and we need to do everything possible to ensure that happens."
While Koziol's vision helped the agency deliver pre-eminent ISR, he underscored the importance of overcoming various challenges through the years so the war fighter could succeed.
"The biggest challenge we had (early on) was to make sure other Air Force organizations clearly understood what our mission was and how we integrated with the intelligence community and the Air Force.
"There are a lot of different moving parts associated with this organization that you don't see in any other command," Koziol said. "Its essential decision makers understand that. That's what we're trying to do here and now, make sure everybody understands the intricacies associated with all the intelligence disciplines."
Koziol points with pride to three organization milestones over the years.
"First, is the transforming into multi-INT which resulted in changing the paradigm on how we do the Air Force distributed common ground system enterprise," he said. "Standing up the agency itself from AIA and making it, no kidding, an ISR agency was important. Third, is the Special Operations Group we stood up at Hurlburt (Field, Fla.). Based on all the airborne missions we do in support of them...when Gen. (Norton) Schwartz (Air Force chief of staff) approved that for us it was great."
Given the importance of hardware and platforms in the intelligence community, Koziol emphasized that people are the common thread making it all work over the years.
"Their professionalism hasn't changed," the general said. "What I've seen evolve is their rapid ability to adjust to technology...what an explosion from the 70's to where we are today!
"They show initiative, innovation, the ability to adjust under pressure and they understand what other war fighters need from the different platforms," he said. "They integrate effectively and provide information immediately so it's actionable intelligence, not something that's going to fall in the bit bucket that no one is going to use."
What will Koziol miss when he hangs up his uniform?
"The professional camaraderie and focus on wanting to do whatever is necessary to support our country," he began. "I'm going to miss talking to young Airmen, they are unbelievably talented. I'll miss the senior NCOs and junior officers I worked with. The civilians I've been associated with throughout my career have been spectacular. I'll also miss the challenge of making the right choice first when you only get one chance to get it right."
Koziol always wanted to be in the military.
"There was no doubt, from scouts all the way through Norwich (Vt.) University," said the 1976 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps distinguished graduate. "My (94-year-old) dad who has three Combat Bronze Stars and wears the Purple Heart for serious injuries incurred in World War II, was happy I decided to become an officer in the military and that I did my best."
5/30/2013 9:58:49 PM ET Congratulations from a member of 6921 and 6913
Tom newsom, Murfreesboro tn
5/30/2012 11:57:46 AM ET Congratulations and best wishes for continued success. I was honored to serve as your Mission Supervisor on your initial USAFSS assignment in 1977 and most pleased to be able to attend your retirement ceremony. All the best to you Ginny and your entire family.
Robert Fenstermacher SMSgt Ret, Hanover MD
5/26/2012 12:48:29 PM ET Congratulations from a really old USAFSS member 1955-1957 6912th RSM.Donald Aldridge Lt Gen USAF Retired
Donald O. Aldridge, Nebraska
5/26/2012 1:38:17 AM ET Congratulations and best wishes to you and your family in retirement.
Harold Gunn, Ocean Shores WA
5/26/2012 12:15:20 AM ET I consider myself fortunate to have served with you and know firsthand of the positive influence you had on the lives of many other professionals. Congratulations and best wishes for you and your family in retirement.Hal Gunn
Harold Gunn, Ocean Shores WA
5/25/2012 2:07:26 PM ET Best wishes from an old Skivvy Niner
Marc S., Walnut Creek CA
5/25/2012 1:15:57 PM ET Good luck to you sir and best wishesOffutt AFB55 SFSSSgt1999-2005
Dave Allen, Elizabeth City NC
5/24/2012 1:11:28 PM ET Sir My best to you Ginny and the family. E. Brown Ex-6920th Troop
E.Brown, Ft Bragg NC
5/23/2012 8:03:36 PM ET Congratulations on your retirement You earned it You and Major General Richardson - Chief of Chaplains are the remaining two USAFSS veterans on active duty. Both of you retire on 1 JuneBoth of you have serverd our nation well and hopefully your retirement years will be rewarding
Steve F- ex-USAFSS too, tokyo japan
5/23/2012 5:29:15 PM ET John best wishes upon completing your active-duty career. May you have a long and happy retirement. Skivvy-Nine rules
Otis R. Needleman, Reality
5/23/2012 3:50:05 PM ET Congratulations to a great friend and my husband Ken's mentor.Best Wishes