“IN HONOR OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY”
Memorial at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia
“For anyone who wants to understand the essence of the CIA, one need look no further than this hallowed wall. These stars, and the memories they hold, will forever inspire and sustain us as we carry on the work to which those whose stars find lasting peace in this finely chiseled constellation devoted their lives.”
Director John O. Brennan — CIA annual ceremony (May 23 2016)
September 6 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 honored by a star? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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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.
Since the attacks of September 11 2001, 55 stars have been added to the Book of Honor and the Memorial Wall.
During the 2016 CIA Memorial Ceremony, four stars were added to the Wall, bringing the total to 117.
The four officers added to the Wall were James “Pete” McCarthy (1954), Marcell Rene Gough (1965), Ksawery “Bill” Wyrozemski (1967) and Charles Mayer (1968).
All four were killed in either training or travel accidents.
According to a CIA spokesman, the selection criteria for the Memorial Wall have evolved since its creation in 1974.
The four newest honorees were put forward by the Honor and Merit Awards Board, which regularly reviews its records for potential additions.
All additions to the Wall must be approved by the CIA director. John Brennan approved these four names.
NB. When the CIA honors several officers with a star during the same ceremony, I have no way of knowing the star number of a given individual. In this series, I will assume that — in such case — the stars are ranked according to the year of death.
Star 115 : Marcell Rene Gough (1965)
“Marcell Rene Gough, a maritime specialist who died in Africa in support of operations in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1965.
Born in Meridian, Mississippi in 1924, Rene graduated from Meridian High School in 1942 and joined the Navy later that year.
After serving with distinction for more than 20 years, Rene brought his naval expertise to CIA, where he set the bar high in his work maintaining crucial equipment as part of our operations aimed at helping the government defeat Communist-backed rebels.
Rene tragically lost his life just 47 days into his tenure at CIA due to a vehicle accident.” [CIA website]
Cold War Navy SEAL: My Story of Che Guevara, War in the Congo, and the Communist Threat in Africa.
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
May 2015 — 113 stars
May 23 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
CIA Honors its Fallen in Annual Memorial Ceremony — May 24 2016
CIA to award Navy operative highest honor — Dayton Daily News
M. RENE GOUGH, ET1, USN Training Class 8 LCK 11/52 — Fifties Frogs Magazine
The CIA Book of Honor — Star 115 : Marcell Rene Gough (1965)