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Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Michael Arthur Maloney

This is part of our series about CIA employees who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Here we will look at the lives of the men and women who have died while serving their country.

Currently, there are 113 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall. The wall stands as a silent, simple memorial to those employees “who gave their lives in the service of their country.” The CIA has released the names of 80 employees; the names of the remaining 33 officers must remain secret, even in death.


Michael Arthur Maloney, an Operations Officer in the Directorate of Plans (now the Directorate of Operations), died in a helicopter crash in the jungles of Southeast Asia while participating in covert operations in 1965. He was awarded a star on the CIA Memorial Wall in 1974. This is his story.

Early Years:

As a teenager, Mike Maloney attended Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC. He transferred to St. Louis High in Honolulu when his family moved there in 1957. Mike was active in high school sports, especially football and baseball, playing quarterback and center field. After graduating from high school in 1958, he returned to the US mainland and enrolled at Fairfield University in the city of Fairfield, Connecticut.

Mike graduated from Fairfield University in 1962 with a BSS in Government. He had played varsity baseball and intramural football at Fairfield and was a standout in both; he also played semi-pro football in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mike joined the CIA in January 1963 and was assigned to the Records Integration Division in the Directorate of Plans as an Intelligence Assistant.

Life at CIA:

Mike worked his way upward and by 1964 had become an Operations Officer. In October of that year, he entered an intensive special operations training program.

In July 1965, Mike was assigned to a Far East Division’s Paramilitary Unit at CIA headquarters. His duties were to prepare studies, briefing papers, and other reports for use in evaluating CIA paramilitary programs in Southeast Asia. Shortly thereafter he was assigned to an overseas post in Southeast Asia, and his wife and young son were able to accompany him.

US covert operations within Southeast Asia were expanding rapidly by the summer of 1965. Having only recently arrived in the area, Mike was soon assigned to assist another paramilitary operations officer, Michael Deuel. Their main tasks were to conduct surveys of the region and make payroll disbursements at area villages. Mike also was to be introduced to the tribal leaders with whom he would be working. Such trips were made in a variety of aircraft that came from the Agency’s proprietary air wing, Air America.

His Last Mission:

On Sunday morning, October 12, 1965, Mike Maloney boarded a helicopter to begin a day that was to be filled with numerous stops in local villages. By dusk, Mike and his team had not returned to the base. Late that afternoon, villagers had reported seeing a chopper go down in the jungle.

It took Agency rescue teams nearly two days searching in the dense jungle to locate and reach the crash site. They found no survivors. Four men had died in the accident—Mike Maloney, his new friend Mike Deuel, the pilot, and a crew member. Michael A. Maloney was 25, and the father of a young son. He and his wife were expecting their second child, also a son.


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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 10:31 AM
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2015 02:09 PM