Sergeant to Agent

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
"I joined because I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself that would challenge me to set goals and achieve personal greatness," said Special Agent Holly Garcia, Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  "I figured the military would be the best starting point in achieving my goals."

Garcia, a West Lawn, Pennsylvania native, enlisted in the Air Force January 10, 2002. She was looking for a career in the medical field, where she could take care of people, and just so happened to get optometry.

After 12 years in optometry and making it to the rank of technical sergeant, Garcia decided to cross train into AFOSI.

"I cross trained into AFOSI in January 2014," said Garcia. "I made this decision because I had developed a significant interest in law enforcement and believed I could impact the mission and effect more lives as an OSI agent. I had reached my goals in optometry and felt it was time to move on."

Training started off with 11 weeks in the Criminal Investigator Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia followed by eight additional weeks at the U.S. Air Force Special Investigations Academy also located at FLETC.

"CITP covered basic law enforcement skills and USAFSIA honed those skills and taught other OSI specific mission areas and investigative processes," said Garcia. "Some parts were intense, but overall it was fun.  I met and trained with some incredible individuals."

Garcia faces challenges every day, but her biggest challenge is maintaining a healthy work/life balance and not burying herself into her work.

"I have found that everyone I work with in OSI at MacDill is extremely dedicated to their work," said Garcia. "It can be very easy to immerse yourself in work and not pay enough attention to those who love and support us."  

With challenges comes rewards and making a difference is the best reward Garcia could ask for.

"I go home at the end of the day and feel in my heart I made a difference," said Garcia. "Investigations take a long time, sometimes the days are long and work is challenging, but no matter what, you always know you are working towards the greater good."

Garcia is currently half way through a bachelor's degree program and plans to pursue a master's degree in forensics. She plans to remain in the Air Force until retirement and hopes to continue in law enforcement with another Federal agency.

"AFOSI is truly like a family," said Garcia. "I've never met a group of individuals so dedicated to their work yet who always finds time to take care of each other."