CIA Remembers Employees Killed in the Line of Duty
At its annual memorial ceremony this morning, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) honored 83 employees who died in service to their country, including Christopher Glenn Mueller and William "Chief" Carlson, two civilian contractors killed in an ambush in Afghanistan last fall.
"The bravery of these two men cannot be overstated," Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet told a gathering of several hundred Agency employees and family members of those killed in the line of duty. "Chris and Chief put the lives of others ahead of their own. That is heroism defined."
Mueller and Carlson died while tracking terrorists near Shkin, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2003. Both saved the lives of others during the ambush.
"Their sacrifice was not in vain," Tenet said, pledging to continue the war on terror until it is won. "We owe that victory to all American heroes like Chris and Chief", and to Mike Spann and Helge Boes, two other remarkable young men who died fighting a pitiless enemy in a remote, rugged place."
Spann was killed in November 2001 in a prison uprising at Mazar-e Sharif. Boes died in February 2003 when a grenade detonated prematurely during a live-fire training exercise in Afghanistan.
Mueller, 32, of San Diego, was a veteran of Navy special operations. Members of his family were among those in attendance at today's ceremony.
Carlson, 43, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, served for two decades in the Army and had extensive special operations experience. He went by the nickname "Chief" in deference to his heritage as a member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana.
Tenet also used the occasion to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Memorial Wall. First conceived as a small plaque to recognize those from the CIA who died in Southeast Asia, the idea quickly grew to a memorial for Agency employees who died in the line of duty.
The first 31 stars were placed on the wall in 1974. Today, there are a total of 83, including the three added in March 2004 to honor Mueller, Carlson and another officer whose name cannot be publicly acknowledged.
"These stars are testament to our past and our present," Tenet said. "To our history and our spirit. To a defining trait of the Central Intelligence Agency and the nation it protects: devotion to duty in pursuit of freedom for all."
The event was not open to the public in order to allow currently serving undercover personnel the opportunity to attend the ceremony honoring their fallen colleagues.