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Staging Area Facility at Ramstein Air Base to Be Dedicated to the Memory of John P. O’Neill
Former FBI Counterterrorism Chief Died on 9/11/01

Washington, D.C. September 11, 2006
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Washington, D.C. – A dedication ceremony will take place on September 15, 2006 in Kaiserslautern, Germany to honor the memory of former FBI Counterterrorism Chief John P. O’Neill. At the ceremony, the Forward Staging Area (FSA) facility at Ramstein Air Base will be dedicated in his honor. Mr. O'Neill, who served as the on-scene commander for the FBI investigation of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, spent much time at Ramstein Air Base during deployment operations.

The dedication will coincide with the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) Rapid Deployment Team meeting at Ramstein Air Base during September 13-15. Approximately 30 FBI representatives will be present along with invited guests including members of Mr. O’Neill’s family.

In 2001, the FBI embarked upon a project to establish FSA facilities at strategic Department of Defense (DoD) installations in Germany and Guam. These FSAs are integral to the mobilization of FBI assets in response to overseas terrorist incidents and other critical or sensitive operations. Construction of the facility located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany was completed and the FSA was activated for the Winter Olympics in February 2006.

In this same theme, CIRG will conduct a formal, on-site dedication ceremony for the Guam FSA in memory of FBI Special Agent Leonard Hatton who was also killed during the terrorist attack on 9/11. This dedication is scheduled for 2007.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said, “John O’Neill was the embodiment of fidelity, bravery, and integrity. He wore his FBI badge proudly and the American people were fortunate to have someone as tireless and loyal working for them. Dedicating this facility in his honor is just one small way we can remember John O’Neill.”

Mr. O’Neill served in a number of critical positions in the FBI prior to his retirement in August, 2001. He became an FBI agent in July, 1976. His first office was Baltimore where his investigative assignments included Foreign Counterintelligence, Organized Crime, and White-Collar crimes. From 1987-1991, he served in several positions within the Criminal Investigative Division and Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In 1991, he was the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office. In 1994, Mr. O’Neill was designated Inspector in Charge of a multi-agency task force investigating domestic violence in the United States.

In January 1995 Mr. O’Neill was appointed Chief of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Section at FBI Headquarters where he was responsible for the direction and support of all of the FBI’s international and domestic counterterrorism investigations. Of particular note during this time, was the capture and extradition of bombing suspect Ramzi Yousef for his role in the first attack on the World Trade Center, the investigation of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the investigations of the bombings of U.S. facilities in Saudi Arabia. He also supervised investigations of numerous other terrorist incidents involving Americans and American interests around the world.

Mr. O’Neill served as the FBI representative on the Interagency Counterterrorism Committee of the National Security Council. He was also a member of the Terrorism Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Terrorism Subcommittee of the American Society of Industrial Security.

From January 1997 until his retirement in August 2001, he served as the Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office overseeing all of the national security matters including counterterrorism operations. He was well-known within the FBI and throughout the law enforcement community worldwide. He was well-regarded for his insight, work ethic, passion, and aggressiveness as a terrorism fighter.

Immediately after his retirement from the FBI, Mr. O’Neill took a position as Chief of Security at the World Trade Center in New York City. He was on the job for just a few weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center claimed his life at age 49.