“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)
March 30 2020 –Officially, the first female CIA officer to die in the line of duty and receive a star on the Memorial Wall was Barbara Robbins. In March 1965, two years after joining the Agency, she was killed in a car bombing of the US Embassy in South Vietnam. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
RELATED POST: Mother, Daughter, Sister, SPY – Women of the CIA
RELATED POST: CIA : A Few Good Women
RELATED POST: CIA : A Few Good Women – LESLIANNE SHEDD (1968 – 1996)
UPDATE (March 30 2020) — The Mysterious 1965 Star — The CIA has honored many of its people who died in 1965 as you can tell from these pictures of the Book of Honor (2003 & 2009).
– – –
You will notice that five 1965 stars are named:
Eugene “Buster” Edens
John W. Waltz
Michael M. Deuel
Michael A. Maloney
However, two were still classified at the time of these pictures. Allow me a few comments and one question.
Note 1 — Louis O’Jibway, who is listed in the year 1966, actually died in 1965! Both Edward Johnson and Louis O’Jibway were CIA intelligence officers working for Air America.
They were killed when their helicopter crashed into the Mekong River in Southeast Asia on August 20, 1965.
The CIA’s Book of Honor incorrectly lists O’Jibway’s date of death as 1966.
Note 2 — We know today that Barbara Robbins was honored with one of the original 31 stars in 1974, but her name was not included in the Book of Honor until May 2011. Thus Robbins is one of the previously two classified names of the 1965 year.
Note 3 — During the 2016 CIA Memorial Ceremony, four stars were added to the Wall, including one to honor Marcell Rene Gough who died in a car accident ( in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1965.
Note 4 — To the best of my knowledge, the CIA has never revealed who is the unnamed 1965 star? Perhaps, the time has come to let us know?
END of UPDATE
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.
“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.
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.
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, 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
Tribute to Women Who Have Died — STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE
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
CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall — CIA website May 21 2006
Khowst – 5 Years Later — Cia Website
Who was Elizabeth Hanson? — COLBY Magazine
Silent Stars — The Washingtonian
Remembering CIA Barbara A. Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965)
Remembering CIA Barbara A. Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965) 
Remembering CIA Barbara A. Robbins (July 26, 1943 – March 30, 1965) [2020 : The Mysterious 1965 Star]