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Mary A. Jones, supervisory special agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Okinawa Resident Agency.
Mary A. Jones, supervisory special agent of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Okinawa Resident Agency. (David Allen / S&S)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Here’s a way to quench your thirst for travel and adventure.

As U.S. troops remain engaged throughout the world in the fight against terrorism, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is in need of more special agents to handle its increasing caseload.

“We’re in the middle of a massive hiring effort,” said Kevin J. Naylon, the Okinawa resident agent in charge. The agency has created more jobs to help with global security.

“We’re in direct competition with the FBI and other similar agencies — like the ATF, DEA,” said Naylon, a former officer for the Durham, N.C., police department and a 17-year NCIS veteran. “But the advantage of [working for] NCIS is we’re everywhere.”

NCIS agents can find themselves involved with a wide range of investigations, he added — from drug undercover work and homicides to counterintelligence, counterterrorism and force protection.

“The biggest attraction for me is the thrill of figuring it all out,” said Supervisory Special Agent Mary A. Jones, using as an example the murder of Seaman Adam Palecco on Camp Hansen last year.

“You get a case like the Palecco murder that’s a pure whodunit and you take it and it’s like solving a crossword puzzle, putting the pieces together,” she said. “There was a dead body left in a drainage tunnel and no leads.”

The case was solved in a matter of days, and by year’s end three sailors were sentenced to life in prison.

“Solving this case was incredibly satisfying for this office,” Jones said. The case also won the Okinawa resident agency the first NCIS Meritorious Unit Citation.

“The type of investigations we’re getting more involved with require things like advanced computer skills — since everything’s getting cyber these days,” she said. “And, since we’re operating worldwide, language skills would be a plus — especially Middle Eastern, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

“Also, a military background is always a plus,” said Jones, a former Army military policewoman. “We always need people with an intel background — and just real good cop experience, too. Other pluses are advance educational degrees, especially in forensics.”

Besides serving in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, NCIS special agents can be found aboard ships and at liberty ports and major Navy and Marine bases all over the world.

Jones said NCIS agents must be able to work well on their own. “In NCIS, our agents have a lot more autonomy a lot sooner than some of the other agencies.”

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and be between 21 and 37 years old. They also must have a bachelor’s degree, have top communication and analytical skills and pass an intensive background investigation.

And they need to be in good physical condition, Jones added. Nineteen weeks of initial training at the Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Ga., “can be pretty grueling.”

Persons interested in the job opportunities with NCIS can visit its Web site at www.ncis.navy.mil, or call Mary Jones at 645-0217.

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