Air Force Featured Stories

‘Lucky 13’ reaches its End of Mission

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

“Please be advised that, just a few hours ago, EDet 2413/Task Force Black, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, officially powered down comm(unication)s and closed its doors for the last time. After 19 years, the legend has reached End of Mission. Here’s to all of our members who have been part of this epic chapter in OSI history!”

With that email message, sent command-wide Oct, 28, 2020, by Heather Bellar, a special agent and Air Force Office of Special Investigations Expeditionary Field Investigations Squadron 24 superintendent, the book closed on the Expeditionary Detachment also known as “Lucky 13.”

“(This is) an amazing day for the command seeing us close the doors on TFB operations at KAF,” wrote Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard, Air Force Office of Special Investigations commander. in a command-wide email. “While I will sleep better this evening knowing there will be no more of our personnel deployed there, away from family and friends and in harm’s way every day, I know the impact this will have across the command on so many who served there, and the incredible legacy they’ve left for the command to always hold high as part of our place in our nation’s history.”

'Lucky 13' alums shared their thoughts on the EoM.

“It was an honor to be the final ‘Black 06,’ EDet 2413/TF Black Commander,” said Carl Hanauer, an AFOSI special agent. “Although I was only with the team for less than three months, we had significant accomplishments building relationships and enabling Afghan operations to secure the battlespace at, was possibly one of the most critical times in our history in the country. It was a leadership challenge that will continue to define my perspective in the future. I have the greatest appreciation and respect for all of the final TF Black Agents, Defenders (Guard and Active Duty), and civilian contractors who made up the Total Force team who went on this adventure and emerged defined by the noble actions we took. I thank my family and all of the families who supported their loved ones in Afghanistan and am proud to return the team safely to them.”

“Leading EDet 2413 and Task Force Black was one of the most formative and humbling experiences of my career,” said Ray Fernandez, and AFOSI special agent who commanded the unit from June 9, 2019, to Aug. 10, 2020. “The entire team worked together to continue to accomplish the mission even as we set up for retrograde (conclusion of OSI operations). I was proud of how well we partnered with our joint and combined counterparts to continue the fight.”

“Members of TF Black are part of a distinguished organization that if you haven’t had the opportunity to be a part of, it’s hard to articulate what it means to be a family member,” said Victoria Mayo, an AFOSI special agent. “Being a member of TF Black meant operating at the forefront, where we were challenged to put our agent skills to the test. We sweat together, sacrificed together, bled together, and succeeded together. It’s where we rose to the challenge and made a lasting impact to the safety and lives around us. The end of mission at TF Black is the passing of an era that will always be ingrained in history and in the hearts and souls of so many of us who had the opportunity to serve there.”

OSI special agents are well known for providing criminal investigations and counterintelligence support at Department of the Air Force bases around the world. However, OSI’s charter also provides warfighting support in deployed theaters of operation, including Afghanistan.

From executing CI support to force protection, OSI special agents in deployed theaters find, fix, and neutralize hostile adversaries targeting Air Force expeditionary bases, helping to “keep the airfield green” and ensuring freedom of movement for vital Air Force equipment and personnel.

One of OSI’s flagship units conducting that pivotal mission was EDet 2413. The unit was a true Task Force, combining the efforts and expertise of OSI Special Agents, intelligence specialists, Air Force Security Forces, linguists, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance operators.

The Task Force Black team worked together with joint, Afghan, and international partners to identify, deter, and stop threats to Kandahar Airfield. Operating both on and off-the installation, Task Force Black personnel supported Afghan partners in enforcing Afghan law and deterring terrorism.

Through their efforts, Task Force Black provided commanders with a better understanding of the local area and local threats. In cooperation with international partners also working to ensure the stability and rule of law in Afghanistan, Task Force Black forged and furthered operational cooperation to safeguard the local battlespace from terrorism.

For 19 years, Task Force Black proudly represented the best of what OSI brings to the fight.

Upon mission stand-down, Task Force Black handed off their Force Protection responsibilities, ensuring that key U.S., Allied and Afghan missions continue securely and efficiently.

“Team OSI has a great deal to be proud of in all it has done, and will continue to do, in the most challenging environments in which our department operates,” Bullard wrote. “I could not be more proud of all of you — and to be OSI.”