QUANTICO, Va. (AFNS) --
The Office of Special Investigations hosted, for the first time in its 73-year history, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Oct. 1 at OSI headquarters, Quantico. SEAC Ramon Colon-Lopez, who is the most senior enlisted service member, by position, in the U.S. military, visited to learn about OSI capabilities and to take part in National Hispanic Heritage Month conversations there.
The SEAC position was originally written as a two-year term to mirror the chairman's term. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017 amended the Chairman's term to a single four-year term. The SEAC’s position is still written as a two-year term. However, the Chairman extended him to mirror his term.
Colon-Lopez is the first Air Force member to hold the position of SEAC The immersion tour began with an overall mission briefing followed by presentations on the insider threat branch, domestic violence extremism, partner engagement, procurement fraud, special projects, offensive counterintelligence, cyber and more.
The SEAC then recognized three OSI members as outstanding performers.
During the lunch break with members of the OSI Rising Six enlisted group, the SEAC was asked why he didn’t go into OSI instead of cross-training into the pararescue field.
“I would have, but I didn’t even know what OSI was at the time,” Colon-Lopez said. “It’s definitely something that would have interested me. Pararescue found me first.”
The afternoon began with a tour of the OSI Hall of Heroes, which permanently memorializes the command’s 16 fallen through the years.
He then toured the OSI Center Watch, which is the Air Force’s sole investigative, counterintelligence and terrorism threat-reporting integration mechanism.
The SEAC visit was further punctuated by an all-call with OSI members command-wide.
During the session the SEAC discussed how he rose through the ranks to the present day.
“As my career went on, we talked about diversity, inclusion and meritocracy,” he said. “A lot of people said I wasn’t going to make it because I couldn’t do this, or because I could barely speak English, and so on. When someone made fun of my accent, I said, ‘Okay, how many languages do you speak?’ I never had a chip on my shoulder, but I always chose the side of opportunity."
The SEAC also spoke about his heritage since his visit came during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Don’t let anyone tell you, you cannot do anything,” Colon-Lopez said. “Instead, you show them what you can do and see what happens."
Colon-Lopez also had another message for his audience.
“When we look at each other, or look in the mirror and see our diversity; it’s the strength of this nation, it’s an advantage,” Colon-Lopez said. “It’s a collective effort to affect the war powers of this nation."
As a pararescueman, Colon-Lopez adopted a mantra that has served him well for his nearly 31 years of military service.
“It’s been a fun career so far, and it’s been filled with adversity,” he said. “But, there was something taught to me as a young pararescueman that’s carried me through every scenario and those are the words never quit.”
Colon-Lopez's farewell thoughts summarized his time with OSI.
“Thanks to the Office of Special Investigations team for giving me the honor to spend time with you all,” he said. “It’s obvious that OSI’s diverse mission, experience and skills are going to be a critical component to whatever future conflicts we may be facing as a nation. I’m proud to serve with each of you and proud to be your SEAC.”