THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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,
Robert J. Silverman is the president of the American Foreign Service Association.
BY ROBERT J . S I LVERMAN
Mustafa Akarsu (far right) and colleagues at
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