“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 (March 23 1965)
“To this day, Barbara [Robbins] 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.”
CIA Director Leon Panetta — Memorial Ceremony (2011)
“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
March 30 2019 –Officially, the first female CIA officer to die in the line of duty and receive a star on the Memorial Wall was Barbara Robbins. She was killed only two years after joining the Agency – in March 1965 – when terrorists bombed the US Embassy in South Vietnam. She remains the youngest CIA officer to receive a star, at just 21-years old. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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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.”
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 129 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall.
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According to a recent post by CIA Molly Hale (March 18 2019), eleven stars represent women.
“We have an ivory-white marble wall in our lobby at CIA Headquarters that stands as a silent, simple memorial to honor the women and men who have given their lives in service to our country.
Currently, there are 129 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall: 91 are unclassified.
Of those, 11 represent women.”
Actually, the first ever CIA officer to die while working for the Agency was also a woman: her name was Jane Wallis Burrell.
RELATED POST: Jane Wallis Burrell — First CIA Officer to Have Died While in Service
At a time when most women in US intelligence worked in clerical roles, Jane was a CIA counterintelligence officer who served in all of CIA’s predecessor agencies: the Office of Strategic Services, the Strategic Services Unit, and the Central Intelligence Group.
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: Barbara A. Robbins — CIA Website
Barbara Robbins: A slain CIA secretary’s life and death — WP
Tribute to Women Who Have Died — STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE
CIA discloses names of 15 killed in line of duty — LA Times
CIA Holds Annual Memorial Ceremony to Honor Fallen Colleagues — CIA Website
Phyllis (Nancy) Faraci — Human Rights & Democracy for Iran
REAGAN SAYS BLAST WON’T DETER PEACE EFFORTS — NYT 21 April 1983
Memorial Service 1983 — CIA Website
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Jacqueline K. Van Landingham — CIA Website
U.S. Seeking 3 Gunmen In Karachi — NYT March 10 1995
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Leslianne Shedd — CIA Website
Osama raid avenged CIA deaths, a secret until now — TODAY
CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall — CIA website May 21 2006
Khowst – 5 Years Later — Cia Website
Who was Elizabeth Hanson? — COLBY Magazine
Year Later, Some Details Emerge About CIA Officer Killed In Afghanistan — npr
Silent Stars — The Washingtonian
“Zero Dark Thirty” entertaining but inaccurate: ex-CIA agents — Reuters
Remembering CIA Barbara A. Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965)
Remembering CIA Barbara A. Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965)