CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall
May 21, 2007
At a ceremony this morning in front of the Memorial Wall in its headquarters lobby, the Central Intelligence Agency honored the 87 Americans who have died while performing its mission of national security. That includes four whose service to our nation is represented by stars engraved earlier this spring.
Speaking at this annual event to hundreds of employees, as well as family and friends of fallen officers, the Agency’s Director, General Michael V. Hayden, said: “For the men and women of CIA, this constellation is more than a memorial, more than a quiet tribute. Each star holds memories of a brave intelligence officer whose example we follow, a treasured colleague whose wisdom we keep, or a lost friend whose laughter we miss.
“Our enduring aspiration as an Agency is to honor their memory. We do so by continuing the mission they served so faithfully.”
Two of the new stars honor communications officers who worked for CIA in the early days of the Cold War. James J. McGrath, of Middletown, Conn., died in January 1957, while servicing a high-power transmitter in Germany. Stephen Kasarda, Jr., of McKees Rocks, Pa., was killed in May 1960, while on temporary duty in Southeast Asia in support of an Agency air supply mission to Tibet. Both deaths were accidental.
“Stephen and James served with distinction a half century ago, as our nation worked to confine communism and strengthen the resolve of free peoples across four continents,” Hayden said. “Their contributions can now be recognized and proper homage paid to their sacrifice.”
Rachel A. Dean, of Stanardsville, Va., was also remembered. A support officer who joined CIA in January 2005, she died last September in a car accident while on temporary duty in Kazakhstan. “Rachel was a warm and compassionate young woman, and an officer of unbounded potential,” Hayden said. “We miss her still and will remember her always. She is our 87th star.”
Director Hayden also told the story behind the fourth new star, which honors a patriot whose work with CIA remains classified.
“To stand before these stars is to be reminded that the mission of intelligence is unlike any other,” Hayden said. “Of those remembered here, there are 33 whose lives with CIA we mention only within these walls. They showed unmatched devotion to duty, working to protect Americans with no expectation of public recognition or acclaim.”
This year’s ceremony had the largest-ever number of guests, including family and friends of more than 30 of the fallen, and dozens of retired CIA communications officers. The retired officers were instrumental in researching the McGrath and Kasarda cases and nominating the two men for recognition on the Memorial Wall.