Air Force investigators open shop at US air base in Japan
Stars and Stripes August 8, 2023
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A new squadron appeared at this airlift hub in late July, a command unit that now has authority over Air Force special investigators throughout Japan.
The 9th Field Investigations Squadron, newly activated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and commanded by Lt. Col. Adam Kurzen, stood up July 25 at a ceremony on Yokota Air Base.
The squadron will be “creating an additional layer of leadership to engage with higher headquarters and Government of Japan counterparts,” according to an Air Force news release.
The squadron will act as the central command for special investigators in Japan and strengthen tactical and operational support to U.S. and Japanese agencies that are OSI partners, Kurzen told Stars and Stripes by email in response to questions forwarded to him by the Office of Special Investigations Headquarters.
With the 9th Field Investigations Squadron as the command hub, the detachments at Yokota, Kadena, and Misawa air bases will continue to “identify, exploit and neutralize diverse threats in the criminal, intelligence and terrorism realms throughout Japan,” Kurzen said in the email Thursday.
The new squadron is now one of over 260 OSI field units worldwide that investigate intelligence threats, terrorism, fraud, sexual assaults and other crimes.
The new squadron will also provide a communications channel between the senior leaders of U.S. Forces Japan and the 5th Air Force, both headquartered at Yokota, Kurzen said in the email Thursday.
Kurzen did not respond to an Aug. 2 interview request from Stars and Stripes, but his record provides an example of the type of work Air Force investigators do.
In 2014 he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan that led to the capture of seven Taliban insurgents along with weapons caches and improvised explosive devices.
Kurzen’s team in Operation Steel Trap also extinguished a terrorist financing organization involved in the theft of military equipment from Bagram airfield.
“His leadership led to the termination of the company’s contract, the ejection of 42 workers involved in the theft and the recovery of more than $600,000 in mission critical assets,” according to a June 13, 2014, news release from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., about the award.
The squadron’s activation is the second special investigations unit activated at Yokota this year, the first being the Office of Procurement Fraud Detachment 8 in May.
Air Force investigators often work alongside other agencies to solve cases.
Air Force investigators, the IRS and the Army Criminal Investigations Division uncovered a major fraud case involving Keith Seguin, a former federal employee who pleaded guilty in April to accepting more than $2.3 million in bribes to funnel $100 million in contracts to specific companies, according to an April 25 news release from OSI.