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CIA Memorial Wall facts for kids

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CIA Memorial Wall - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency
The Wall with 83 stars in 2004
CIA Book of Honor open enlarge
CIA Book of Honor 1950–2003

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.


The Memorial Wall is located in the Original Headquarters Building lobby on the north wall. There are 133 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall, each one representing an employee who died in the line of service. Paramilitary officers of the CIA's Special Activities Division compose the majority of those memorialized.

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." 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. The identities of the unnamed stars remain secret, even in death. In 1997, there were 70 stars, 29 of which had names. There were 79 stars in 2002, 83 in 2004, 90 in 2009, 107 in 2013, 111 in 2014, 125 in 2017, 129 in 2018, 133 in 2019, and 135 in 2020. Of the 135 entries in the book, 93 contain names, while 42 do not. These 42 are represented only by a gold star followed by a blank space.

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." The wall is flanked by the flag of the United States on the left and a flag bearing the CIA seal on the right.

Adding new stars

CIA Memorial Wall - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency (1)
One of the engraved 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. Johnston learned the process of creating the stars from the original sculptor of the wall, Harold Vogel, who created the first 31 stars and the Memorial Wall inscription when the wall was created in July 1974. Although 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." 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.


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. The CIA states that

[i]nclusion 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. After approval by the director, the Office of Protocol arranges for a new star to be placed on the Wall.

Current stars and known individuals

Date of Death Name Cause of Death
March 20, 1947 Lieutenant John W. Creech Killed when their plane crashed in bad weather while en route to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They worked for the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), the direct predecessor to CIA.
Daniel C. Dennett, Jr.
April 29, 1950 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, on April 29, 1950.
January 11, 1951 Jerome P. Ginley Ginley was killed when his plane crashed into the East China Sea, near the Japanese Ryukyu Islands.
November 29, 1952 Norman A. Schwartz Schwartz and Snoddy 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 Schwartz 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.
Robert C. Snoddy
1954 James "Pete" McCarthy Jr. A paramilitary operations officer who died in 1954, on a training flight in Southeast Asia.
May 15, 1956 Wilburn S. Rose Three CIA Lockheed U-2 pilots who died in plane crashes – Rose, Grace, Carey were honored with stars in 1974.
August 31, 1956 Frank G. Grace
September 17, 1956 Howard Carey
June 16, 1956 William P. Boteler Boteler was killed in the bombing of a restaurant in Cyprus that was frequented by CIA operatives; the group EOKA committed the attack on June 16, 1956.
January 1957 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.
March 17, 1960 Chiyoki Ikeda Ikeda died when Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710 crashed in Indiana while he was on temporary duty assignment in the United States.
May 1, 1960 Stephen Kasarda, Jr. A native of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, Kasarda died while stationed in Southeast Asia. He was working with air supply missions being flown into Tibet.
April 13, 1961 Nels L. Benson Killed in a training accident while instructing members of Brigade 2506 on the use of C-4 explosives in Retalhuleu, Guatemala.
April 19, 1961 Leo F. Baker Four CIA pilots were killed while supporting the failed Bay of Pigs invasion on Cuba. One more American was killed during the invasion, paratrooper Herman Koch Gene, but he was not part of the CIA. Baker was buried in a mass grave in Cuba and Thomas Ray's remains were returned to his family in 1979.
Wade C. Gray
Thomas W. Ray
Riley W. Shamburger
August 13, 1961 David W. Bevan Bevan, Eubanks, Lewis were former Smokejumpers (wildland firefighters) who were working for the CIA's Air America airline when their plane crashed in Laos on August 13, 1961, killing them and two other crew members. They were dropping cargo in support of General Vang Pao's Hmong army when their plane experienced a mechanical problem. The three men were honored with stars in 2017.
Darrell A. Eubanks
John S. Lewis
July 26, 1964 John G. Merriman A CIA pilot, he was shot down while attacking a convoy of Simba rebels near Kabalo, Congo, with his T-28 counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft.
March 30, 1965 Barbara Robbins Killed in a Vietcong car bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam. 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.
April 26, 1965 Eugene "Buster" Edens CIA Lockheed U-2 pilot who died in a plane crash. He was honored with a star in 1974.
June 6, 1965 John W. Waltz Died in Baghdad, Iraq, while working as an Aide at the U.S. embassy. He became ill and died from medical complications following emergency surgery.
August 20, 1965 Edward Johnson Johnson and O'Jibway 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. The CIA's Book of Honor incorrectly lists O'Jibway's date of death as 1966.
Louis O'Jibway
October 12, 1965 Michael M. Deuel Both Deuel and Maloney 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.
Michael A. Maloney
November 29, 1965 Marcell Rene Gough A maritime specialist who died in a vehicle accident in November 1965, in today's Democratic Republic of the Congo, while on assignment to maintain equipment for operations designed to defeat communist-backed rebels.
1965 Unidentified Killed in action during the Vietnam War in South Vietnam or Laos.
January 5, 1967 Walter L. Ray CIA A-12 pilot killed in a crash.
February 15, 1967 Ksawery "Bill" Wyrozemski An air operations officer who died in a vehicle accident in Zaire (now known as The Democratic Republic of the Congo).
February 1, 1968 Billy J. Johnson Johnson, McNulty and Sisk were killed in action during the Vietnam War in South Vietnam or Laos.
August 15, 1968 Wayne J. McNulty
August 20, 1968 Richard M. Sisk
June 4, 1968 Jack W. Weeks CIA A-12 pilot killed in a plane crash.
1968 Charles Mayer An engineer in the Directorate of Science and Technology, who died in an airplane crash in Iran in 1968. His duties at the CIA were to monitor the Soviet Union's missile capabilities.
April 13, 1970 Hugh Francis Redmond Redmond was a member of the Special Activities Division (SAD) 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.
October 24, 1971 David L. Konzelman Konzelman was killed in action during the Vietnam War in South Vietnam or Laos.
1971 Paul C. Davis Unknown
April 28, 1972 Wilbur M. Greene Greene was serving in the Vietnam War when he died during a gall bladder operation.
September 27, 1972 Raymond L. Seaborg Seaborg, Peterson, and Kearns were killed in action during the Vietnam War in South Vietnam or Laos.
October 19, 1972 John Peterson
December 15, 1972 John W. Kearns
November 23, 1974 Raymond C. Rayner Rayner was killed by an unknown intruder who broke into his home at night on Bushrod Island, near Monrovia, Liberia.
January 1975 William E. Bennett Bennett was killed in an explosion at his residence in Tuy Hòa, South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War, while working as a political reporting officer for the U.S. embassy.
December 23, 1975 Richard Welch Station chief in Greece was assassinated by the radical Marxist organization Revolutionary Organization 17 November.
January 3, 1975 James A. Rawlings Killed in a cargo plane crash in South Vietnam. He was declared missing and, a year later, the CIA issued a "presumptive determination" of death.
March 1976 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 kept him for 11 months before he died. Gougelmann was honored with a Memorial Star after the criteria for inclusion on the Wall were 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."
July 13, 1978 Denny Gabriel 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 in North Carolina, during a training exercise for a top-secret mission.
Berl King
1978 Unidentified Unknown
April 18, 1983 Robert Ames Died in the 1983 Beirut embassy bombing. Haas was the station chief.
Phyliss Faraci
Kenneth E. Haas
Deborah M. Hixon
Frank J. Johnston
James Lewis
Monique Lewis
William Richard Sheil
October 18, 1984 Richard Spicer Killed in a plane crash while on a covert mission during the Salvadoran Civil War.
Scott J. Van Lieshout
Curtis R. Wood
June 3, 1985 William Francis Buckley Station chief in Lebanon killed in captivity by Hezbollah.
March 26, 1987 Richard D. Krobock Killed in a helicopter crash during the Salvadoran Civil War.
December 21, 1988 Matthew Gannon Gannon was the CIA's deputy station chief in Beirut, Lebanon; he was one of at least four American intelligence officers aboard Pan Am Flight 103 (he was assigned Clipper Class seat 14J), when a bomb detonated and destroyed the plane high over Lockerbie, Scotland.
August 7, 1989 Robert W. Woods Killed in a plane crash (along with U.S. Representative Mickey Leland), while on a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia.
November 27, 1989 Michael Atkinson Killed when their Lockheed L-100 Hercules transport plane crashed on November 27, 1989, in Angola while supporting the rebel group UNITA. Eleven members of UNITA who were on board also died in the crash.
George Bensch
George V. Lacy
Pharies "Bud" Petty
Gerhard H. Rieger
Jimmy Spessard
1989 Unidentified Unknown
July 19, 1992 Barry S. Castiglione Killed during the ocean rescue of a colleague in El Salvador.
December 23, 1992 Lawrence N. Freedman Killed by a landmine in Somalia on December 23, 1992.
January 25, 1993 Lansing H. Bennett M.D. The two fatalities of the 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters. Bennett, with experience as a physician, was working as an intelligence analyst assessing the health of foreign leaders. Darling worked in covert operations.
Frank Darling
August 8, 1993 Freddie Woodruff Woodruff was assassinated in Tbilisi, Georgia, while acting as the station chief and training the bodyguards of Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze and the élite Omega Special Task Force.
March 8, 1995 Jacqueline K. Van Landingham Shot and killed in Pakistan on March 8, 1995.
April 3, 1996 James M. Lewek Killed when a United States Air Force CT-43A crashed near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Thirty-four other people on board were also killed.
November 17, 1996 John G.A. Celli III Killed in a traffic accident in the Middle East in November 1996.
November 23, 1996 Leslianne Shedd Killed when three Ethiopians, who were seeking political asylum in Australia, hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 on November 23, 1996, and crashed the plane into the Indian Ocean.
December 6, 1997 Thomas M. Jennings Jr. Died in a car accident in Bosnia-Herzegovina under State Department cover.
August 7, 1998 Tom Shah Died in the 1998 African embassy bombings.
Molly C.H. Hardy
November 2001 Johnny Micheal "Mike" Spann Spann 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. Officer Spann was posthumously awarded the Intelligence Star for valor for his actions.
January 4, 2002 Nathan Chapman He was the first U.S. soldier to be killed in combat in the American war in Afghanistan. At the time of his death, he was detailed to the CIA as a CIA paramilitary team's communications specialist. He was killed while investigating an Al-Qaeda safe house in Khost.
February 7, 2003 Helge P. Boes Killed by a grenade during a training accident in Afghanistan.
July 9, 2003 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."
October 25, 2003 Christopher Glenn Mueller Mueller and Carlson were paramilitary contractors from Special Activities Division, killed in an ambush in Afghanistan on October 25, 2003. On May 21, 2004, these officers' stars were dedicated at a memorial ceremony. "The bravery of these two men cannot be overstated," then-Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet told a gathering of several hundred Agency employees and family members of those killed in the line of duty. "Chris and Chief put the lives of others ahead of their own. That is heroism defined." Mueller, a former US 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.
William "Chief" Carlson
December 7, 2005 Gregory R. Wright, Jr. Killed in Iraq while working on a Protective Service Detail. His team was returning from an asset meeting when they were ambushed by unknown attackers.
September 30, 2006 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.
May 11, 2007 Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec Known as the "Lion of Fallujah" for his deployment there with the US Marine Corps, he was serving with the CIA's Special Activities Division when he was killed in a gun battle in Baghdad in May 2007 while leading Iraqis on a "snatch-and-grab" operation against insurgents. Officially, his star is anonymous; the CIA refuses to comment on Zembiec's employment with the Agency. However, former U.S. intelligence officials have stated in interviews with The Washington Post that Zembiec was indeed serving with the SAD Ground Branch at the time of his death.
May 10, 2008 Donald A. Barger Killed in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan. Barger was a retired Master Sergeant, former US Army Ranger and Special Forces soldier. He served with 1st Ranger Battalion and Army 3rd Special Forces Group.
September 28, 2008 Stephen Stanek Lost at sea when their 40-foot vessel was hit by Tropical Storm Higos while they were surveilling a small island in the South China Sea, north of the Philippine island of Luzon, which was occupied by the Chinese military.
Michael Perich
Jamie McCormick
Daniel Meeks
September 29, 2008 Jeffrey R. Patneau Died in a car accident while posing as a State Department employee in Yemen.
2008 Unidentified Unknown
2008 Unidentified Unknown
December 30, 2009 Harold Brown Killed in the Camp Chapman attack in Afghanistan.
Elizabeth Hanson
Darren LaBonte
Jennifer Matthews
Dane Paresi
Scott Roberson
Jeremy Wise
September 25, 2011 Jay Henigan Shot and killed by a rogue Afghan, who was working for the U.S. government, at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Henigan was a plumber and CIA contractor.
September 11–12, 2012 Glen A. Doherty 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. In addition, the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and one other American diplomat, Sean Smith, were also killed in the attack.
Tyrone S. Woods
October 18, 2012 Dario N. Lorenzetti Killed during a suicide bombing by a member of the Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security. He was a 1993 West Point graduate and Army Ranger.
August 28, 2013 Ranya Abdelsayed Died in Afghanistan while targeting senior al-Qaida and Taliban members.
May 23, 2016 Mark S. Rausenberger Killed while working for the CIA in the Philippines, but details about the circumstances of his death remain classified. He worked for the CIA for 18 years and also served in the U.S. Army. He was previously stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and other countries. He was honored with a star in 2017.
October 26, 2016 Brian R. Hoke Hoke and Delemarre were killed during an assault on an ISIS compound outside of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Hoke was a former United States Navy SEAL and Delemarre a former Marine. Both were members of Special Activities Division.
Nathaniel P. Delemarre
November 4, 2016 Matthew C. Lewellen Members of the 5th Special Forces Group – were working for the CIA, training moderate Syrian rebels in Jordan, when they were shot and killed on November 4, 2016.
Kevin J. McEnroe
James F. Moriarty
December 18, 2016 George A. Whitney Killed in the Jalalabad area of Afghanistan. Whitney was a former United States Marine Captain.
2017 Unidentified Unknown
2017 Unidentified Unknown
2017 Unidentified Unknown
2017 Unidentified Unknown
November 21-22, 2020 Michael Goodboe Killed in combat in Somalia.
Undisclosed year
Unknown Unidentified Unknown
Unknown Unidentified Unknown
Unknown Unidentified Unknown
Unknown Unidentified Unknown
Unknown Unidentified Unknown
Unknown Unidentified Unknown

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. 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 who were killed during the Vietnam War that were not counted as part of the Agency even though they worked for it. The names of some of them were: John M. Bannerman, Eugene DeBruin, Joseph C. Cheney, Charles Herrick, John Lerdo Oyer, Jack J. Wells, George L. Ritter, Edward J. Weissenback, and Roy F. Townley.

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