“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 12 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 then 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 travel accidents.
According to a CIA spokesman, the selection criteria for the Memorial Wall have evolved since its creation in 1974.
The new honorees must now be put forward by the Honor and Merit Awards Board, which regularly reviews its records for potential additions.
All additions to the Wall must then be approved by the CIA director.
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 117 : Charles Mayer (1968)
Charles Mayer was born in 1936 in Troy, Illinois.
The son of a traveling magician, the young Mayer saw a great deal of America as a boy.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State.
After serving in the Navy, Charles Mayer worked as an engineer in the Directorate of Science & Technology.
According to an official CIA statement, Mayer made valuable contributions to US efforts to monitor Soviet missile capabilities.
Mayer died in an airplane crash in Iran in 1968.
Statistics by cause since 9/11
Killed in combat :: 79 – 82 – 83 – 86 = (4)
Training exercise :: 80 = (1)
Travel accidents :: 81 – 87 – 114 – 115 – 116 – 117 = (6)
Other accidents :: 84 (electrocuted) – 85 (electrocuted) = (2)
These statistics only include the list of stars I have discussed so far.
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
The CIA Book of Honor — Star 117 : Charles Mayer (1968)