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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

DECEMBER 2014

7

he Foreign Service has taken

more deaths in the line of

duty, on a percentage basis,

than has the U.S. military

o cer corps, and none of us more so

than our Diplomatic Security colleagues.

Since Diplomatic Security was formed in

the closing days of World War II, 93 of its

personnel have been killed in the line of

duty, including local guards and contract

employees.

e majority have died in the

last 10 years in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Diplomatic Security colleagues super-

vise Marine Security Guard detachments

and local guard forces, and they must

remain nimble to adapt to constantly

shifting local environments, including

the political environment in Washington.

eir overall mission has also changed

over time so that it now includes as a top

priority the protection of personnel as

well as classi ed information and physical

facilities.

Local guard forces, in particular, face

dangers since they stand watch on the

lines where the embassy meets the public.

We should thank them every day for doing

this job. I want to tell one or two of their

stories this month.

Mustafa Akarsu had been a member of

Embassy Ankara’s guard force for 22 years

when he stopped

a suicide bomber

from entering the

embassy on Feb.

1, 2013. Mustafa

had just waved an

embassy employee

into the compound, and was joking

with her when he sensed there was

something wrong with the next visi-

tor. He planted himself between the

visitor and the front door to the com-

pound. When the bomb was set o ,

Mustafa was standing directly against

the bomber.

e blast that instantly

killed himwas contained by his body

and the compound door, saving the

lives of others on the other side of the

door and those walking in the area.

Mustafa is remembered fondly

as an outgoing member of the embassy,

greeting employees every morning as

they headed into work. His wife and two

children attended embassy holiday par-

ties and community events.

e family

was hoping to immigrate to the United

States in June; Mustafa had applied for a

Special Immigrant Visa and was awaiting

its approval. Since this visa is tied to the

employee, his death cut o that prospect.

ere are other recent examples

of similar sacri ce, unfortunately. For

example, on Sept. 29 of this year, Abdul

Rahman of Embassy Kabul was killed by

a suicide bomber while he was meeting

with Afghan police at the Kabul airport.

What can we do to help the families

of these heroes? Diplomatic Security col-

leagues contacted Representative Michael

McCaul, Republican of Texas, who chairs

the House Homeland Security Commit-

tee. McCaul has sponsored the Mustafa

Akarsu Local Guard Force Support Act,

which AFSA actively supports.

is bill

would provide Special Immigrant Visas to

the surviving spouses and children of U.S.

government employees killed abroad in

the line of duty. Democratic co-sponsors

of the bill include Representatives Gerry

Connolly of Virginia and David Cicilline of

Rhode Island.

Stay tuned as AFSA updates you on the

status of this bill in the 2015 Congress. You

can help get this bill enacted into law by

joining AFSA in advocating for it.

Wishing you and your families a happy

and healthy New Year,

Bob

Silverman@afsa.org

n

PRESIDENT’S VIEWS

T

Robert J. Silverman is the president of the American Foreign Service Association.

The Departed

BY ROBERT J . S I LVERMAN

Mustafa Akarsu (far right) and colleagues at

Embassy Ankara.

Local guard forces in particular face

dangers since they stand watch on the lines

where the embassymeets the public.

Courtesy: Office of Rep. Michael McCaul