David J. Phillion, Field Security Officer, Retires After 44 Years in Service

Life, as we know, is full of choices and decisions. One of the most difficult decisions I have made was deciding to retire after 44 years of working full time, six of which were working for IOM as a Security Officer.

Those six years with IOM, starting in the Middle East as the Regional Security officer and ending as the Field Security Officer for Somalia, have left me with fond memories and great friendships. The dedication and sacrifice of those staff that I have had the honor to work with to make the world a better place is admirable. We had our challenges, but as a team we accomplished many good things as we were able to be flexible and accepting to deal with security hurdles that may have otherwise prevented us on achieving our goals.

In the particular context of Somalia – it has a difficult and complex security environment, to say the least, but we get our work done, but it is not without sacrifices. Four IOM Third Party Contractors have been assassinated in Mogadishu and several UN staff and contractors/international partners have been killed in terrorist attacks in different areas of Somalia, including friends of mine.

So before closing I want to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the beneficiaries and remind all IOM staff of the importance of working with SSU to do our combined best to make sure you can do your job in as a secure environment as possible.

In closing, it has been great working with the IOM family and I wish you all the best as IOM moves into a new era with the UN. Stay safe and may your decision to retire be one that you are truly satisfied with, like me.