Newest CIA Museum Artifact Honors Fallen Agency Officer
Last month, the CIA commemorated the 12th anniversary of Agency officer Johnny Micheal (Mike) Spann’s death by unveiling a “Camp Mike Spann” sign, the newest artifact in the CIA Museum. Spann deployed to Afghanistan with the first group of Americans in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and was the first American killed in combat in Operation Enduring Freedom. He is represented by the 79th star on the CIA Memorial Wall.
The sign was presented to the CIA Museum by an Agency officer and his colleague. After seeing the CIA Museum’s exhibit on CIA’s role in Afghanistan, the officer wanted to preserve the sign so that it wasn’t lost in the drawdown of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. As the sign was dedicated, the Agency officer noted, “We are just a couple of regular guys trying to save a piece of wood with an American hero’s name on it.”
“Many of our CIA heroes must remain anonymous outside the Agency family, but Mike Spann quickly became a symbol of the nation’s resolve in the wake of the 9/11 attacks,” CIA Director John Brennan observed in a message to the workforce on Nov. 25, 2013. “His valor and dedication have inspired us all in the hard-fought war against al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates that continues to this day.”
Spann deployed to Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. He was interviewing a group of extremists held in Qali-Jangi fortress at Mazar-e Sharif when hundreds of prisoners revolted. Spann’s last act, just before he was killed in the attack, was to warn an Agency colleague of the imminent danger. His actions in the six weeks he was in Afghanistan made a major contribution to the battle against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in north-central Afghanistan.
Note: “Micheal” is spelled correctly.