The CIA Book of Honor — Star 114 : James “Pete” McCarthy

“IN HONOR OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY”

Memorial at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia

“For anyone who wants to understand the essence of the CIA, one need look no further than this hallowed wall. These stars, and the memories they hold, will forever inspire and sustain us as we carry on the work to which those whose stars find lasting peace in this finely chiseled constellation devoted their lives.”

 Director John O. Brennan — CIA annual ceremony (May 23, 2016)

August 19 2019 — Currently, there are 133 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall: 93 are unclassified. Who are those men and women? When did they die? Why are they honored by a star? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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In 1974,  the CIA dedicated the Memorial Wall with 31 stars in 1974 to honor those who had fallen since the Agency’s founding in 1947.

Since the attacks of September 11 2001, 55 stars have been added to the Book of Honor and the Memorial Wall.

During the 2016 CIA Memorial Ceremony,  four stars were added to the Wall, bringing the total to 117.

The four officers added to the Wall were James “Pete” McCarthy (1954), Marcell Rene Gough (1965), Ksawery “Bill” Wyrozemski (1967) and  Charles Mayer (1968).

All four were killed in either training or travel accidents.

According to a  CIA spokesman, the selection criteria for the Memorial Wall have evolved since its creation in 1974.

The four newest honorees were put forward by the Honor and Merit Awards Board, which regularly reviews its records for potential additions.

All additions to the Wall must be approved by the CIA director. John Brennan approved these four names.

NB. When the CIA honors several officers with a star during the same ceremony, I have no way of knowing the star number of a given individual. In this series,  I will assume that — in such case — the stars are ranked according to the year of death.

Star 114 : James “Pete” McCarthy (1954)

“James ‘Pete’ McCarthy, Jr., a paramilitary operations officer who died on a training flight in Southeast Asia in 1954.

Pete was born in 1925 in Medford, Massachusetts. Prior to joining CIA, he saw combat as a tail gunner in the Army Air Forces, flying 19 missions overall throughout Asia.

Pete began his career at CIA in 1951 as a stenographer but later transitioned and thrived as an air operations specialist.

The Director described Pete as a man of many interests who was intensely patriotic, passionate about sports, and deeply committed to his work.”

TIMELINE

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

May 2015 — 113 stars

May 23 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

REFERENCES

CIA Honors its Fallen in Annual Memorial Ceremony — May 24 2016

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The CIA Book of Honor — Star 114 : James “Pete” McCarthy

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