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CIA Memorial Wall

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Title: CIA Memorial Wall  
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Subject: Camp Chapman attack, Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, Matthew Gannon, The Star (Homeland), Lindsay Moran
Collection: Central Intelligence Agency, Monuments and Memorials in Virginia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

CIA Memorial Wall

The Wall with 83 stars
CIA book of Honor 1950-2005

The Memorial Wall is a memorial at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It honors CIA employees who died in the line of service.[1]


  • Memorial 1
  • Adding new stars 2
  • Candidates 3
  • People honored on the Memorial Wall 4
  • Other fatalities 5
    • Civil Air Transport 5.1
    • Air America 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Memorial Wall is located in the Original Headquarters Building lobby on the north wall. There are 113 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall,[2] each one representing an employee who died in the line of service.[1] Paramilitary officers of the CIA's Special Activities Division comprise the majority of those memorialized.[3]

A black Moroccan goatskin-bound book, called the "Book of Honor," sits in a steel frame beneath the stars, its "slender case jutting out from the wall just below the field of stars," and is "framed in stainless steel and topped by an inch-thick plate of glass."[4] Inside it shows the stars, arranged by year of death and, when possible, lists the names of employees who died in CIA service alongside them.[1][4] The identities of the unnamed stars remain secret, even in death.[1] In 1997, there were 70 stars, 29 of which had names.[4] There were 79 stars in 2002, [5] 83 in 2004,[6] 90 in 2009,[7] 107 in 2013,[8] 111 in 2014[2] and 113 in 2015. 80 of the 113 entries in the book contain names,[9] while the other employees are represented only by a gold star followed by a blank space.[10][11]

The Wall bears the inscription IN HONOR OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY in gold block letters.[4] The Wall is flanked by the flag of the United States on the left and a flag bearing the CIA seal on the right.[4]

Adding new stars

When new names are added to the Book of Honor, stone carver Tim Johnston of the Carving and Restoration Team in Manassas, Virginia adds a new star to the Wall if that person's star is not already present.[1] Johnston learned the process of creating the stars from the original sculptor of the Wall, Harold Vogel, who created the first 31 stars[6] and the Memorial Wall inscription when the Wall was created in July 1974.[1] The wall was "first conceived as a small plaque to recognize those from the CIA who died in Southeast Asia, the idea quickly grew to a memorial for Agency employees who died in the line of duty."[6] The process used by Johnston to add a new star is as follows:

Johnston creates a star by first tracing the new star on the wall using a template. Each star measures 2¼ inches tall by 2¼ inches wide and half an inch deep; all the stars are six inches apart from each other, as are all the rows. Johnston uses both a pneumatic air hammer and a chisel to carve out the traced pattern. After he finishes carving the star, he cleans the dust and sprays the star black, which as the star ages, fades to gray.[1]


The Honor and Merit Awards Board (HMAB) recommends approval of candidates to be listed on the wall to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[1] The CIA states that "Inclusion on the Memorial Wall is awarded posthumously to employees who lose their lives while serving their country in the field of intelligence. Death may occur in the foreign field or in the United States. Death must be of an inspirational or heroic character while in the performance of duty; or as the result of an act of terrorism while in the performance of duty; or as an act of premeditated violence targeted against an employee, motivated solely by that employee's Agency affiliation; or in the performance of duty while serving in areas of hostilities or other exceptionally hazardous conditions where the death is a direct result of such hostilities or hazards."[1] After approval by the director, the Office of Protocol arranges for a new star to be placed on the Wall.[1]

People honored on the Memorial Wall

  • Douglas Mackiernan - The first CIA employee to be killed in the line of duty and the first star on the wall. Mackiernan had worked for the State Department in China since 1947. When the People's Republic of China was established at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the State Department ordered that the Tihwa (Ürümqi) consulate where Mackiernan was stationed as vice consul be closed, and personnel were to leave the country immediately. Mackiernan, however, was ordered to stay behind, destroy cryptographic equipment, monitor the situation, and aid anti-communist Nationalists. Mackiernan fled south toward India after most escape routes were cut off, along with Frank Bessac, an American Fulbright Scholar who was in Tihwa, and three White Russians. Although Mackiernan and his party survived the Taklamakan Desert and Himalayas, Mackiernan was shot by Tibetan border guards, probably because they mistook them as Communist infiltrators. Although Mackiernan's death was reported on the front cover of the New York Times at the time of his death and his name appears on a plaque in the State Department lobby, the CIA did not reveal his service, because he was operating under diplomatic cover. His star was acknowledged to family members in a secret memorial ceremony at the Wall in 2000 but remained officially undisclosed until 2006, when his name was placed into the CIA's Book of Honor.[12]
  • Norman A. Schwartz and Robert C. Snoddy - Both were pilots of a C-47 aircraft on a mission to extract a CIA operative from China. Their plane took off on November 29, 1952, from South Korea for Jilin province, China. They were preparing to pick up the agent with an airborne extraction system when the operative was compromised by Chinese forces on the ground and their plane was shot down. Both Schwarts and Snoddy were killed, while two other CIA crewmembers, Richard G. Fecteau and John T. Downey, were captured by the Chinese and held until 1971 and 1973, respectively. Schwartz's and Snoddy's remains were returned in 2005.[13]
  • Four CIA Lockheed U-2 pilots who died in plane crashes - Wilburn S. Rose (d. May 15, 1956), Frank G. Grace (d. August 31, 1956), Howard Carey (d. September 17, 1956), and Eugene "Buster" Edens (d. April 1965). Rose, Grace, Carey, and Edens were honored with stars in 1974.[14]
  • William P. Boteler - Boteler was killed in a bombing attack on a restaurant frequented by CIA operatives that was committed by the group EOKA in Cyprus on June 16, 1956.[15]
  • James J. McGrath - A native of Middletown, Connecticut, McGrath died following an accident while working on a high-power German transmitter in January 1957. His star was placed on the wall in 2007.[16]
  • Chiyoki Ikeda - Ikeda died when Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710 crashed in Indiana on March 17, 1960, while he was on temporary duty assignment in the United States.[17]
  • Stephen Kasarda, Jr. - A native of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, Kasarda died on May 1, 1960, while stationed in Southeast Asia. He was working with air supply missions being flown into Tibet.[16][18]
  • Nels L. Benson - Killed on April 13, 1961, in a training accident while instructing members of Brigade 2506 on the use of C-4 explosives in Retalhuleu, Guatemala.[19]
  • Four CIA pilots were killed on April 19, 1961, while supporting the failed Bay of Pigs invasion on Cuba - Leo F. Baker, Wade C. Gray, Thomas W. Ray and Riley W. Shamburger. One more American was killed during the invasion, paratrooper Herman Koch Gene, but he was not part of the CIA.[20]
  • John J. Merriman - A CIA pilot, he was shot down on July 26, 1964, while attacking a convoy of Simba rebels near Kabalo, Congo with his T-28 counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft.[21]
  • Barbara Robbins - Killed in a Vietcong car bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam on March 30, 1965.[22] She was honored with one of the original 31 stars in 1974, but her name was not included in the Book of Honor until May 2011.[23]
  • John W. Waltz - Died on June 6, 1965, in Baghdad, Iraq, while working as an Aide at the U.S. embassy.[24] He became ill and died from medical complications following emergency surgery.[25]
  • Edward Johnson and Louis O'Jibway - Both were members of the CIA front company called Air America who were working as intelligence officers. They were killed when their helicopter crashed into the Mekong River in Southeast Asia on August 20, 1965.[26]
  • Michael M. Deuel and Michael A. Maloney - Both were members of the CIA front company called Air America who were working as intelligence officers. They were killed, along with one more Air America pilot and a mechanic, when their helicopter crashed near Saravane, Laos on October 12, 1965.[27]
  • 10 officers were killed in action during the [24]
  • Two CIA A-12 pilots who died in plane crashes - Walter L. Ray (d. January 5, 1967) and Jack W. Weeks (d. June 4, 1968).[29][30]
  • Hugh Francis Redmond - Redmond was a member of the Special Activities Division who was posing as an ice cream machine salesman when he was captured in 1951, in Shanghai, China while boarding a ship for San Francisco. He was in captivity for 19 years until he died on April 13, 1970. The Chinese claimed he slit his wrists.[31]
  • Raymond C. Rayner - Rayner was killed by an unknown intruder who broke into his home on the night of November 23, 1974, on Bushrod Island, near Monrovia, Liberia.[32]
  • James A. Rawlings - Killed in a cargo plane crash in South Vietnam in January 1975. He was declared missing and, a year later, the CIA issued a “presumptive determination” of death.[33]
  • Tucker Gougelmann - Gougelmann was a Paramilitary Operations Officer from the CIA's Special Activities Division who worked in the CIA from 1949 to 1972, serving in Europe, Afghanistan, Korea, and Vietnam. Gougelmann returned to Saigon in spring 1975 in an attempt to secure exit visas for loved ones after North Vietnam had launched a major offensive. He missed his final flight out of Saigon, and was captured by the North Vietnamese, who tortured him for 11 months before he died. Gougelmann was honored with a Memorial Star after the criteria for inclusion on the Wall was broadened and after "It was determined that although Gougelmann did not die in the line of duty while employed by CIA, his past affiliation with the Agency led to his death."[34]
  • Revolutionary Organization 17 November in December 1975.
  • Denny Gabriel and Berl King - Former members of the CIA's Air America, they were killed, along with a member of the U.S. Special Forces, when their plane crashed during a training exercise for a top-secret mission on July 13, 1978, in North Carolina.[35]
  • Robert Ames, Phyliss Faraci, Kenneth E. Haas, Deborah M. Hixon, Frank J. Johnston, James Lewis, Monique Lewis and William Richard Sheil - Died in the 1983 Beirut embassy bombing. Haas was the station chief.[36][37]
  • Richard Spicer, Scott J. Van Lieshout and Curtis R. Wood - Killed in a plane crash while on a covert mission during the Salvadoran Civil War on October 18, 1984.[24][38]
  • William Francis Buckley - Station chief in Lebanon killed in captivity on June 3, 1985.[9]
  • Richard D. Krobock - Killed in a helicopter crash during the Salvadoran Civil War on March 26, 1987.[39]
  • Matthew Gannon - Gannon was the CIA's deputy station chief in Beirut, Lebanon and was one of at least four American intelligence officers aboard the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103, sitting in Clipper Class seat 14J, when it was blown apart.
  • Robert W. Woods - Killed in a plane crash in August 1989, with Rep. Mickey Leland on a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia.[10]
  • Michael Atkinson, George Bensch, George V. Lacy, Pharies "Bud" Petty, Gerhard H. Rieger and Jimmy Spessard - Killed when their Lockheed L-100 Hercules transport plane crashed on November 27, 1989, in Angola while supporting the rebel group UNITA. Also killed were 11 members of UNITA that were on board.[40]
  • Barry S. Castiglione - Killed during the July 1992 ocean rescue of a colleague in El Salvador.[10]
  • Lawrence N. Freedman - Killed by a landmine in Somalia on December 23, 1992.[41]
  • 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters - The two fatalities of the attack were Lansing H. Bennett M.D., 66, and Frank Darling, 28, both CIA employees. Bennett, with experience as a physician, was working as an intelligence analyst assessing the health of foreign leaders.[42] Darling worked in covert operations.
  • Eduard Shevardnadze and the élite Omega Special Task Force.
  • Jacqueline K. Van Landingham - Shot and killed in Pakistan on March 8, 1995.[10][43]
  • James M. Lewek - Killed when a United States Air Force CT-43A crashed near Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 3, 1996. Thirty-four other people on board were also killed.[44]
  • John G.A. Celli III - Killed in a traffic accident in the Middle East in November 1996.[45][46]
  • Leslianne Shedd - Killed when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked on November 23, 1996, by three Ethiopians seeking political asylum in Australia and crashed in the Indian Ocean.[10]
  • Thomas M. Jennings Junior - Died in Bosnia-Herzegovina in December 1997.[10]
  • Tom Shah and Molly C.H. Hardy - Died in the 1998 African embassy bombings.[47]
  • Johnny Micheal "Mike" Spann - He was a Paramilitary Operations Officer from the Special Activities Division killed during a Taliban prison uprising in November 2001 in Mazar-e Sharif (see Battle of Qala-i-Jangi). His star, the 79th, was added in 2002.[5] Officer Spann was posthumously awarded the Intelligence Star for valor for his actions.
  • Helge P. Boes - Killed by a grenade during a training accident in Afghanistan on February 7, 2003.[48]
  • Christopher Glenn Mueller and William "Chief" Carlson - Two paramilitary contractors from Navy SEAL and Carlson, a former Army Ranger, Green Beret and Delta Force soldier, died while tracking high level terrorists near Shkin, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2003. Both officers saved the lives of others, including Afghan soldiers, during the ambush.[50][51][52]
  • Gregg Wenzel - An operations officer who was killed in Ethiopia in 2003, also was honored with a star on the CIA's memorial wall. A former defense attorney in Florida, Wenzel grew up in Monroe, New York, and was a member of the first clandestine service training class to graduate after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. His Agency affiliation was withheld for six years. Overseas, Wenzel gathered intelligence on a wide range of national security priorities. In Director Leon Panetta’s words: “At age 33, a promising young officer—a leader and friend to so many—was taken from us. We find some measure of solace in knowing that Gregg achieved what he set out to do: He lived for a purpose greater than himself. Like his star on this Wall, that lesson remains with us always.”[53]
  • Gregory R. Wright, Jr. - Killed in Iraq on December 7, 2005, while working on a Protective Service Detail.[54][55]
  • Rachel A. Dean - Dean was a native of Stanardsville, Virginia who joined the CIA as a young support officer in January 2005. She died in a car accident in September 2006, while on temporary duty in Kazakhstan.[16]
  • Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec - Known as the "Lion of Fallujah" for his deployment there with the US Marine Corps. Killed in a gun battle in Baghdad in May 2007 while leading Iraqis on a "snatch-and-grab" operation against insurgents, while serving with the CIA's Special Activities Division. Officially, his star remains anonymous to this day; the CIA has refused to comment on Zembiec's employment with the Agency. However, former U.S. intelligence officials stated in interviews with The Washington Post that Zembiec was indeed serving with the SAD Ground Branch at the time of his death.[56]
  • Jeffrey R. Patneau - Died in a car accident on September 29, 2008, while posing as a State Department employee in Yemen.[10]
  • Harold Brown, Elizabeth Hanson, Darren Labonte, Jennifer Matthews, Dane Paresi, Scott Roberson, Jeremy Wise - Killed in the Camp Chapman attack in Afghanistan on December 30, 2009.[57]
  • Unknown CIA employee - Shot and killed by a rogue Afghan, who was working for the U.S. government, at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 25, 2011.[58]
  • Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods - Killed during the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of September 11–12, 2012. Both were former Navy SEALs and worked as CIA security contractors.[59] In addition, the US ambassador to Libya and one other American diplomat were also killed in the attack.[60]
  • The details of two named CIA fatalities are unknown. These are Jerome P Ginley, who died in 1951 and Paul C Davis, who died in 1971.
  • The identities and circumstances of death of 17 officers are still unknown. Of the 17: one each died in 1978, 1984, 1989, and 1996, six in 2008, five in 2009, and two in 2014.

Other fatalities

Civil Air Transport

On May 6, 1954, during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, two CIA pilots, James B. McGovern, Jr. and Wallace Buford, were killed when their C-119 Flying Boxcar cargo plane was shot down while on a resupply mission for the French military.[61] They worked for Civil Air Transport, which was later reorganized as Air America. Neither of them has a star on the Memorial Wall.

Air America

There were more than 30 pilots and other crew members of the CIA's Air America company that were killed during the Vietnam war that were not counted as part of the agency even though they worked for it.[62][63]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Stars on the Wall." Central Intelligence Agency 24 April 2008.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Gup, Ted (2000). The Book of Honor: Cover Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA.
  4. ^ a b c d e Gup, Ted. "Star Agents: The anonymous stars in the CIA's Book of Honor memorialize covert operatives lost in the field." Washington Post 7 September 1997.
  5. ^ a b "CIA Honors Slain Agency Officers at Annual Ceremony." Central Intelligence Agency 31 May 2002.
  6. ^ a b c d "CIA Remembers Employees Killed in the Line of Duty." Central Intelligence Agency 21 May 2004,
  7. ^ "[1]." Central Intelligence Agency 1 June 2009.
  8. ^ Remembering CIA's Heroes: Barbara A. Robbins
  9. ^ a b Remembering CIA's Heroes: William F. Buckley
  10. ^ a b c d e f g CIA discloses names of 15 killed in line of duty
  11. ^
  12. ^ Amnesia to Anamnesis
  13. ^ Cold War Missing In Action Aviator Identified
  14. ^ "Remembering CIA's Heroes: Agency Pilots in the U-2 Program." Central Intelligence Agency 14 May 2008.
  16. ^ a b c "CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall." Central Intelligence Agency 20 May 2007.
  17. ^ Remembering CIA's Heroes: Chiyoki Ikeda
  18. ^ Remembering CIA's Heroes: Stephen Kasarda
  19. ^ Wallace, Robert Henry: "Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's spytechs from Communisim to Al Qaeda". Peguin, 2008. pg 273
  20. ^ Capt Thomas W "Pete" Ray
  22. ^ Director Leon E. Panetta Honors First Agency Officer Killed in Vietnam at Annual Memorial Ceremony
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b c Special Forces - Roll Of Honour
  25. ^ Remembering CIA’s Heroes: John W. Waltz
  26. ^ The CIA and the "Secret" War in Laos: The Battle for Skyline Ridge, 1971-72
  28. ^ Director Leon E. Panetta Honors First Agency Officer Killed in Vietnam War
  29. ^ Finding a Mission
  30. ^ Tribute to Jack W. Weeks, CIA A-12 Project Pilot for Operation
  33. ^ Remembering CIA's Heroes: James A. Rawlings
  34. ^ "CIA Commemorates 78th Star at Memorial Ceremony." Central Intelligence Agency 8 June 2001.
  36. ^ "CIA Holds Ceremony to Honor Fallen Colleagues." Central Intelligence Agency 2 June 2008.
  42. ^ "Lansing Bennett, Physician Slain Outside CIA", Washington Post, January 27, 1993.
  43. ^ Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Jacqueline K. Van Landingham
  44. ^ CRASH IN THE BALKANS;Passengers and Crew
  45. ^ Remembering CIA's Heroes: John Gregory Anthony Celli, III
  46. ^ CIA Operative Dies in Prison Riot
  47. ^ Osama raid avenged CIA deaths, a secret until now
  48. ^ Afghan Accident Kills CIA Agent
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b
  51. ^ a b
  52. ^
  53. ^ Press Release
  54. ^ The CIA Memorial Wall
  55. ^ In Memoriam of Gregory R. Wright, Jr.
  56. ^
  57. ^ Press Release
  58. ^ CIA employee ID'd as victim in Kabul shooting
  59. ^ Memorial for CIA’s Fallen Marks Somber 40-Year Anniversary
  60. ^ CIA rushed to save diplomats as Libya attack was underway
  61. ^
  63. ^ Air America in Loas

External links

  • , 2010Memorial Wall PublicationCIA,
  • , August 27, 2000.The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA interview with Ted Gup on Booknotes
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