CIA : A Few Good Women – Barbara A. Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965)

“March 23 1965: I imagine you’re still wondering about Doug (Johnson). I still haven’t given him an answer and I may not between now and at the time he leaves. . . . The trouble is I’m not at all sure how I feel about him. Time, I guess, will be the deciding factor. That’s all for now. Love, Barbara”

 Barbara A. Robbins — Last letter to her parents


The Memorial Wall is a memorial at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It honors CIA employees who died in the line of service. There are 117 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall. [WIKIPEDIA]. Eleven represent women. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today


“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.”

CIA Director David Petraeus (2012 Annual Memorial Ceremony )

Barbara Robins - Nha Trang - 1964

Barbara Robins – Nha Trang – 1964

Barbara Annette Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965) was an American secretary employed by the Central Intelligence Agency. She was killed in a car bombing of the United States Embassy, Saigon. Robbins was the first female employee to be killed in action in the CIA’s history, the first American woman killed in the Vietnam War and, as of 2012, the youngest CIA employee to die in action. [WIKIPEDIA]

“On the morning of March 30, 1965, Barbara heard loud gunfire from outside the window. She rushed to the window to see that the shots had come from a policeman trying to stop a vehicle, which had come too close to the embassy.

When the policeman opened fire on the vehicle, another man on a scooter drove up next to the vehicle and shot the policeman. A 300-pound bomb inside the vehicle then exploded, throwing back the observers at the windows.

The force of the blast also threw window glass, air conditioners, and iron window grates, which ultimately killed Barbara, another American and several Vietnamese.”  [CIA Website]

At the 2011 Memorial Service, when her name was finally publicly acknowledged, then-Director Leon Panetta said:

“To this day, Barbara is the youngest officer memorialized on our Wall. She was the first American woman to die in Vietnam and the first woman in our Agency’s history to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Nine women since then have fallen in service to our mission. Today we remember them all, with great love and great admiration.”

RELATED POST: CIA : A Few Good Women

RELATED POST: CIA : A Few Good Women – LESLIANNE SHEDD (1968 – 1996)

Director Leon E. Panetta Honors First Agency Officer Killed in Vietnam at (2011) Annual Memorial Ceremony

During the Agency’s annual memorial ceremony on Monday, May 23, (2011) Director Leon E. Panetta paid tribute to the first American woman killed in the Vietnam War.

CIA officer Barbara A. Robbins was killed on March 30, 1965, in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Her name was added to the CIA’s Book of honor, which lists Agency officers who died while serving their country.


Women of the CIA — Newsweek

The Mystery of Jane Wallis Burrell: The First CIA Officer To Die in the Agency’s Service — CIA news & Information

Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Leslianne Shedd — CIA Website


Keeping Secrets

Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Barbara A. Robbins — CIA Website

Barbara Robbins: A slain CIA secretary’s life and death — WP

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