Derby resident, Dean Smyth, with his gear on in this photo, was in Afghanistan as part of his job with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Dean Smyth’s childhood desire to be in law enforcement or the military has led to careers in both.
“I distinctly remember being a kid and thinking that I never wanted to have a job that was boring,” said the Derby resident. “I have been a federal agent since 1985, and have been with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service since 1987.”
Smyth volunteered and was selected to go to Afghanistan from August 2011 to March 2012.
“As a special agent with the U.S. Department of Defense, I have investigated a wide variety of cases involving crimes where the DOD is a victim,” he said. “These cases include terrorism, product substitution, defective pricing, mischarging, medical fraud and technology transfer.”
While in Afghanistan, Smyth and his partner, a special agent with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, were cautious when attending meetings at the U.S. embassy, the Kabul International Airport and various government and military facilities.
“We were always very aware of what was going on around us as it was easy to identify us as Americans when we were out on the roads,” he said.
Smyth is a member of Derby First Christian Church and has a wife, Becky and two daughters, Rachel and Emily.
“There is no comparison between Kabul and Derby,” he said. “I saw very few single family dwellings in Kabul; most families lived in what looked to be extremely crowded high-rise apartment buildings. Kabul is very poor and in need of a lot of repair ...”
Unless there was a threat of a vehicle borne improvised explosive device, Smyth said the daytime traffic in Kabul was usually very heavy.
“Cars shared the streets with jaywalking pedestrians, donkey carts and bicycles,” he said. “It was crazy most of the time as there were no apparent traffic rules or enforcement.”
Smyth said the assignment gave him a new appreciation for life in Derby.
“There are things about living here that most people take for granted; like being able to drive anywhere at any time they want, going out to eat or shop, living in a comfortable house instead of a small and crowded conex box and spending time with friends and family,” he said. “I hope I never lose the appreciation I now have for these ‘little’ things.”
The civilian DCIS investigator expressed pride in the U.S. armed forces.
“Regardless of how people feel about the war in Afghanistan, they can be very proud of the U.S. military,” he said. “The overwhelming majority ... are doing an extremely difficult job under very adverse conditions with a high degree of professionalism.”
While his living and working conditions were austere by American standards, he said they were luxurious compared to the “Spartan conditions faced by airmen, soldiers and Marines at some of the smaller forward operating bases and combat outposts.”
“I pray every day that they will all return safely home,” he said.
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