CIA Honors Newest Trailblazers on the Agency's 65th Birthday
CIA Honors Newest Trailblazers on the Agency’s 65th Birthday
September 19, 2012
CIA Trailblazer Award Recognizes Officers for Significant Impact on CIA’s History
On September 18, Central Intelligence Agency Director David H. Petraeus honored former Director of Central Intelligence Walter Bedell Smith (1895-1961) and former Directorate of Science and Technology officer Howard “Gammy” Gamertsfelder (1920-2011) with posthumous CIA Trailblazer Awards. Established in 1997, the Trailblazer Award recognizes CIA officers whose leadership, achievements, and dedication to mission had a significant impact on the Agency’s history and legacy. The CIA presents the Trailblazer medallion annually on the Agency’s birthday.
General Walter Bedell “Beetle” Smith organized the CIA's operational, analytic, and support missions into the directorate system that defines the CIA today. During his tenure as the fourth Director of Central Intelligence, he initiated the CIA's tradition of providing daily intelligence reports to the president and fostered greater cooperation within the emerging US Intelligence Community—particularly between the Agency and military intelligence components during the Korean War. General Smith was instrumental in alerting the National Security Council to the need for an entity focused on communications intelligence, influencing President Harry S. Truman’s decision in 1952 to create the National Security Agency.
Howard “Gammy” Gamertsfelder was a leading pioneer in operational technology and tradecraft. During nearly six decades with the CIA—as an officer, consultant, and contractor—Gamertsfelder designed tools and equipment that led to breakthroughs in how CIA officers collect intelligence. Gamertsfelder is remembered best as a mentor, devoting much of his career to honing the skills of his colleagues and inspiring junior officers.
“With their unique skills, exceptional achievements, and lasting influence on our mission and our organization, our Trailblazers are the very best of our calling. Each led from the front, in the vanguard of the intelligence profession, and we owe each of them a sincere debt of gratitude,” Director Petraeus said during the ceremony at Headquarters.
With the addition of General Walter Bedell Smith and Howard Gamertsfelder, there are now 72 officers with the title of “CIA Trailblazer.”