”This tragedy, however awful, must not distract us from our search for peace in Lebanon and elsewhere. Your devotion to duty is known to all of us. Please let everyone know we will never give in to this cowardly type of incident. I am determined now more than ever that we do everything that is necessary to make Lebanon a free and safe country again.”
Ronald Reagan — April 20 1983
“We gather here today in recognition of Women’s History Month. At this time, it seems only fitting that we remember our own.We honor today four of our women who made that supreme sacrifice: Barbara A. Robbins, Phyllis Nancy Faraci, Monique N. Lewis, and Deborah Marie Hixon.”
Tribute to Women Who Have Died (1989)
“They devoted their hearts and minds to a mission unlike any other, at an agency unlike any other, serving on the world’s most dangerous frontiers to defend our people, defeat our adversaries, and advance our freedoms. Their words and deeds will inspire us forever, and their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
CIA Director David Petraeus — 2012 Annual Memorial Ceremony
The bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut (Lebanon) took place on April 18, 1983. At approximately 1:05 PM, a truck loaded with nearly 2,000 pounds of explosives drove through the driveway of the American embassy and crashed into the building. Ms. Phyllis Faraci was one of 63 the victims. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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But Faraci — 44 at the time of the bombing, was NOT a simple administrative specialist in the Beirut embassy (since 1982) and a former administrative aide in United States Embassies in South Vietnam and Kuwait, as the New York Time reported on April 21 1983. She was CIA.
In 2012, fifteen names were inscribed in the CIA’s Book of Honor this year, allowing Agency officers to publicly acknowledge those who have been represented by stars and whom we have silently mourned for years.
Five of the names entered in the Book of Honor are those of officers who perished on April 18, 1983 when a suicide bomber struck the US Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 in the most destructive terrorist attack against a US official presence at that time.
Phyliss Nancy Faraci was one of the last four Americans evacuated from the Mekong Delta when Saigon fell. She was an intensely devoted officer who volunteered to work in Beirut. Deborah M. Hixon was a talented young officer fluent in French who volunteered for a temporary posting in Beirut. Frank J. Johnston, a 25-year veteran officer, couldn’t resist the request of a superior who wanted him on his team in Beirut, even though Frank’s retirement was just around the corner. James F. Lewis joined the CIA as a paramilitary officer—after a distinguished career in the US military—and his fluent French and Arabic uniquely qualified him for service in Beirut. Jim’s wife, Monique N. Lewis, was only hours into her first day as an Agency officer when the bomber struck that terrible day.
“A massive explosion ripped through all seven levels of the embassy, sending debris flying hundreds of feet into the air and causing the burning building to collapse on itself.
In addition to those who lost their lives, at least 120 people were injured. At the time, it was the deadliest attack on an American diplomatic mission since World War II.
Ms. Nancy Faraci was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania in 1939. After attending Douglas Business School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms. Faraci took up a position at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA spoke highly of Ms. Faraci’s professional accomplishments, describing her as an “intensely devoted officer.” She was posted in a number of locations, including Vietnam and Kuwait, and she volunteered to serve in Beirut. She arrived there in late 1982.
Ms. Faraci was a beloved figure in her extended family, and she was godmother to three young children. As a young woman, she enjoyed tap dancing and ballroom dancing; she also loved to knit, swim, play golf, and bowl.
A friend who knew her from high school described Ms. Faraci as a bright, friendly, and vivacious girl.
Ms. Faraci had plans to retire after her Beirut posting and to move to Niagara Falls, New York, to live near her extended family. At the time of her death, she was 44 years old.”
PS: Did you know Ms. Phyllis Nancy Faraci? Would you like to share a story? Just let us know.
At the Memorial Ceremony — held at the CIA Headquarters on April 29 1983 — the DCI offered a few remarks.
The conclusion reads:
“My thoughts at this time go back many centuries ago to some verse carved on the rocks at the pass of Thermopylae North of Athens where a few Greeks in 480 BC valiantly withstood thousands of Persians.
The words read:
Go passerby and to Sparta tell
That we in faithful service fell.
We remember and honor our own who — in faithful service fell.”
US Embassy Bombing in Beirut — April 18 1983
Women of the CIA — Newsweek
The Mystery of Jane Wallis Burrell: The First CIA Officer To Die in the Agency’s Service — CIA news & Information
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Barbara A. Robbins — CIA Website
Tribute to Women Who Have Died — STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE
REAGAN SAYS BLAST WON’T DETER PEACE EFFORTS — NYT 21 April 1983
Memorial Service 1983 — CIA Website
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Jacqueline K. Van Landingham — CIA Website
U.S. Seeking 3 Gunmen In Karachi — NYT March 10 1995
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Leslianne Shedd — CIA Website
CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall — CIA website May 21 2006
Khowst – 5 Years Later — Cia Website
Who was Elizabeth Hanson? — COLBY Magazine
Silent Stars — The Washingtonian
Remembering CIA Phyllis Nancy Faraci (1939 – April 18 1983)
Remembering CIA Phyllis Nancy Faraci (1939 – April 18 1983) —