“We honor the men and women of this Agency who perished in the line of duty. The cause to which they devoted their lives—the freedom and safety of Americans—endures.”
CIA Director Gina Haspel (May 21 2019)
On Tuesday (May 21 2019), the Central Intelligence Agency held its annual memorial ceremony to pay tribute to the men and women of CIA who have died in the line of duty. Four stars were added to the Memorial Wall this year. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Daniel Dennett and John Creech were flying in a twin-engine aircraft on an operation for the Central Intelligence Group — the immediate precursor to the CIA — when their plane crashed into a mountain in the Horn of Africa in 1947. [Ethiopia — March 20, 1947]
When the wall went up in 1974, they were excluded because they were considered not technically part of the CIA.
Nicholas Dujmovic, a longtime CIA historian who retired in 2016, wrote in an article on the CIA website, there was hardly any difference between the two groups, save for their initials.
Two other new stars honor officers whose names and contributions remain classified.
There are now 133 stars on the wall.
I would like to make two comments. Firstly, it is certainly controversial to honor two CIG operatives with a star on the CIA wall.
This is a very political decision. There is a fine balance between honouring the Past and abusing History.
I am puzzled by the two non-identified new stars. In a recent speech, DCIA Gina Haspel (Auburn University – April 18 2019) stated that forty-two Agency men and women have died in the line of duty since 9/11.
As I have argued, this would imply that not a single CIA officer died in the line of duty over the last year.
Perhaps Director Haspel misspoke? Or could it be that two CIA officers died since her speech and were immediately honoured with a star?
The other possibility is that the two stars honour CIA officers who died before 9/11. But then, why is their identity kept secret?
Today, the Central Intelligence Agency held its annual Memorial Ceremony to remember, honor, and celebrate the courageous CIA officers who died serving their country.
This year, there are four new stars on the Memorial Wall, each commemorating a distinguished officer. Two of those stars honor officers whose names and contributions remain classified even after their deaths.
The other two stars honor Lieutenant John W. Creech and Daniel C. Dennett, Jr., who were on a mission to Addis Ababa when their plane crashed in bad weather. John and Daniel worked for the Central Intelligence Group (CIG)—the immediate predecessor to CIA.
In her remarks to those assembled before the Memorial Wall, Director Haspel said, “We honor the men and women of this Agency who perished in the line of duty. The cause to which they devoted their lives—the freedom and safety of Americans—endures.”
During the ceremony, Director Haspel presented the families of the four fallen officers with a marble replica of their loved one’s star.
CIA’s Memorial Ceremony began in 1987 and is attended each year by hundreds of employees, retirees, and family members of the officers who died serving the CIA. In 1974, CIA dedicated the Memorial Wall with 31 stars to honor those who had fallen since the Agency’s founding in 1947. There are now 133 stars on the wall.
July 1974 — The Memorial Wall is created; 31 stars chiseled into the marble.
1987 — First Memorial Ceremony is held with Deputy Director Robert M. Gates presiding; number of stars on the wall has grown to 50.
1997 — 70 stars, 29 of which had names
2002 — 79 stars
2004 — 83 stars
2009 — 90 stars
2013 — 107 stars
2014 — 111 stars
2016 — 117 stars
May 2017 — 8 new stars; 125 stars chiseled into the wall
May 2018 — 4 new stars; 129 stars
May 2019 — 4 new stars; 133 stars
CIA Honors its Fallen in Annual Memorial Ceremony [May 21 2019]