CIA Holds Annual Memorial Ceremony to Honor Fallen Colleagues
May 22, 2012
The Central Intelligence Agency on Monday paid tribute to all of its exceptional men and women who have died in the line of duty. An additional star was carved on the Memorial Wall this year, which now commemorates the lives of 103 courageous Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country.
Standing before the wall in the lobby of CIA headquarters, Director David H. Petraeus said: “The 103 souls represented by the stars on the wall behind me all heard the same call to duty and answered it without hesitation—never for acclaim, always for country. 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.”
The DCIA honored the memory of Jeffrey R. Patneau, a young can-do officer who was killed in Yemen in September 2008. “Jeff proved that he had boundless talent, courage, and innovativeness to offer to our country in its fight against terrorism,” the Director said. “Tested by adversity, Jeff had been more than equal to every task. He was taken from us just as he had begun what promised to be a brilliant career and a life of great consequence—one of faithful service to the people he loved and to the nation he revered.”
In total, 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.
Speaking about the loss of these officers and the others who perished with them, Director Petraeus said: “Beirut was not, of course, the CIA’s first deadly encounter with terrorism, but it was there that we first caught sight of the adversary we face today.” Four other Agency officers whose names were entered into the Book of Honor this year also lost their lives to terrorist acts. Matthew K. Gannon, a talented young officer with an exceptionally bright future, died in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Veteran officer Molly N. Hardy, moments before she was killed in the August 1998 suicide bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, used her keen situational awareness to warn colleagues to take cover. Molly exemplified the valor and compassion that are hallmarks of our finest officers. Leslianne Shedd was serving a highly successful tour in Ethiopia when, in November 1996, hijackers forced down her plane over the Indian Ocean, killing over 125 people. Survivors of that flight tell us that Leslianne—an outstanding young woman—spent her final moments comforting those around her. In March 1995 Jacqueline K. Van Landingham, an accomplished officer known for her liveliness and humor, was on her fourth overseas tour when she was killed in Pakistan.
“We are reminded of the sheer sweep of our global mission by the stories of five other officers honored today, whose experiences demonstrate the risks inherent to intelligence work, as well as the bravery and integrity of those who perform it,” the Director said. For his heroism, Barry S. Castiglione earned the Agency’s Intelligence Star for a successful July 1992 ocean rescue of a colleague in distress. Barry died in the effort, which took place in El Salvador. Lawrence N. Freedman, a 25-year Army veteran when he joined the Agency in 1990, was performing work for a humanitarian aid mission when he was killed in Somalia in December 1992. Larry also was awarded the Intelligence Star. Thomas M. Jennings, Jr., an accomplished veteran officer, lost his life in Bosnia in December 1997 after volunteering for a temporary assignment there. Freddie R. Woodruff was a gifted linguist who had mastered German, Turkish, Greek and Russian. He was killed in Georgia in August 1993 after volunteering for a temporary assignment. Robert W. Woods volunteered to accompany former Congressman Mickey Leland on a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia and died when their plane crashed in August 1989—yet another example of selfless service.
The memorial ceremony is attended each year by hundreds of employees, retirees, and family members and friends of those who have died in service with CIA.