November 25, 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan. CIA officer Johnny Michael Spann was killed at Mazar-e Sharif when hundreds of prisoners who had supposedly surrendered chose instead to attack.
An official account at the CIA website said Spann’s “last act…was to warn an Agency colleague of the imminent danger.” Spann was interviewing some detainees when the attack began.
Spann’s star was the 79th carved on the CIA’s Memorial Wall and his name is listed in the agency’s Book of Honor. There are 90 stars total, but only 55 employees’ names are public. Spann had served in the US Marines, rising to the rank of captain, before joining the CIA in 1999 as a paramilitary officer. Spann was a native of Alabama.
What many Americans may not know is that there is a foundation to help children and spouses of fallen CIA officers killed in the line of duty.
The CIA Officers Memorial Foundation website said:
The CIA Officers Memorial Foundation was established to provide financial and other assistance to the families of CIA officers killed as a result of hostile action in the line of duty. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided support - principally educational support - to the children and spouses of officers who died in the line of duty and are honored on CIA's Memorial Wall.
The CIA was established by President Harry S. Truman, a Democrat, in 1947. The purpose of the agency aimed at “coordinating the nation’s intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence affecting national security.”
Donations to the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation are accepted through the Network for Good at the CIA Memorial Foundation website.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/Nov. 27, 2011)