The CIA Book of Honor — Stars 82 & 83 : Christopher Glenn Mueller and William “Chief” Carlson


Memorial at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia

“The bravery of these two men cannot be overstated. Chris and Chief put the lives of others ahead of their own. That is heroism defined.”

Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet (May 2004)

July 16 2019 — Currently, there are 133 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall: 93 are unclassified. Who are those men and women? When did they die? Why are they honoured by a star? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: The CIA Book of Honor — Star 81 : Gregg Wenzel

RELATED POST: The CIA Book of Honor — Star 80 : Helge Philipp Boes

RELATED POST: The CIA Book of Honor — Star 79 : Johnny Micheal Spann

RELATED POST: The CIA Book of Honor — Star 78 : Tucker Gougelmann

RELATED POST: CIA Honors its Fallen in Annual Memorial Ceremony [May 21 2019]

RELATED POST: CIA Memorial Wall — The Mysterious Star : Ranya Abdelsayed (April 28 1979 – August 28 2013)

In 1974,  the CIA dedicated the Memorial Wall with 31 stars in 1974 to honor those who had fallen since the Agency’s founding in 1947.

On June 8 2001, the CIA formally commemorated the 78th star on its Memorial Wall, honoring former Agency officer Tucker Gougelmann, who died in Vietnam in the summer of 1976 after 11 months of torture.

Since the attacks of September 11 2001, 55 stars have been added to the Book of Honor and the Memorial Wall.

In 2004, three stars were added to the wall, bringing the total number to 83.

At the time, Gregg Wenzel’s identity was not publicly acknowledged. However, on June 1 2009 the CIA uncovered Gregg’s identity as a clandestine services officer.

The other two new stars honor Christopher Glenn Mueller and William “Chief” Carlson, two civilian contractors killed in an ambush in Afghanistan in the Fall of 2003.

William Carlson, 43, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and Christopher Glenn Mueller, 32, of San Diego, California were killed on Saturday October 25 2003 near the village in Shkin in Paktika province.

“A statement released by the agency said they were working as contractors for the agency’s Directorate of Operations, which conducts clandestine intelligence gathering and other covert activities.” [NYT]

At the time, they were the third and fourth CIA operatives that the agency acknowledged as killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan since the September 11 2001 attacks.

Christopher Glenn Mueller

Mueller deployed to Afghanistan from May to July 2003, and again, for the last time, in September of that year.

Mueller’s job included forging a relationship with an Afghan commander who was helping U.S. troops. The two had become friends.

William “Chief” Carlson

William “Chief” Carlson was a veteran of the Ranger Regiment, Army Special Forces, and retired as a Delta Force operator in 2003.

Carlson then took on an employment with the CIA, and deployed almost immediately to Afghanistan.

On October 25 2003, their unit was ambushed in Taliban-controlled territory.

The Afghan commander was wounded. Mueller left cover to pull him to safety. He saved his friend but was shot in the chest.

Carlson was at the wheel when the unit came under enemy fire. There was one person in the passenger seat, and two soldiers in the back.

When a rocket-propelled grenade struck the vehicle, Carlson turned it so that his comrades could escape, putting himself in the line of automatic-weapons fire that took his life.


July 1974 — The Memorial Wall is created; 31 stars chiseled into the marble.

1987 —  First Memorial Ceremony is held with Deputy Director Robert M. Gates presiding;  number of stars on the wall has grown to 50.

1997 — 70 stars, 29 of which had names

2002 — 79 stars

2004 — 83  stars

2009 — 90  stars

2013 — 107  stars

2014 — 111  stars

2016 — 117  stars

May 2017 — 8 new stars; 125 stars chiseled into the wall

May 2018 — 4 new stars; 129 stars

May 2019 — 4 new stars; 133 stars


Afghan rebels kill two CIA agents — The Guardian

Two C.I.A. Operatives Killed In an Ambush in Afghanistan — NYT

Former Alum, Navy Seal and CIA Agent Killed in Ambush Honored in Campus Memorial — UCSD News

Where the Red Man Treads: William “Chief” Carlson — News Rep

Fighting a pitiless enemy in a remote, rugged placeSean Linnane Blog


The CIA Book of Honor — Stars  82 & 83 : Christopher Glenn Mueller and William “Chief” Carlson

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