presented the family of each fallen officer with a replica of a memorial star. Each
keepsake star is carved by Tim Johnston out of the same type of marble used in the
The Memorial Ceremony is one of the largest annual events at CIA. It is open only to
Agency employees and the family members of our fallen officers.
The ceremony is held in the Headquarters lobby in the late morning. It begins with the
audience standing for the presentation of colors by the CIA Honor Guard, the National
Anthem, and an invocation or opening prayer.
The Director of the CIA typically presides over the event and delivers remarks. Those
comments highlight the sacrifices made by Agency officers in defense of this nation
and often profile specific individuals honored with a memorial star. The names of the
fallen are then read by four senior Agency officers, representing each Directorate.
Following the roll call, a wreath is placed before the Wall. The ceremony concludes
with a benediction and the playing of “Taps.”
“The stars are what made this country
great and their names should be in a
Memorial book, not as signage on the
The Book of Honor—on display in front
of the Memorial Wall at all times—
contains the names of employees who
died while serving their country. Each is
next to a 23-carat gold leaf star. For
reasons of security—to protect
intelligence sources and methods—the
names of some of those on the Wall must
remain secret, even in death. Each of these officers is remembered in the book by a
gold star alone.
Part of Vogel’s concept for the Memorial Wall included a display case to house the
Book of Honor. The cover of the book, never seen by the public, displays a 22-carat
gold embossed Agency seal. Vogel selected Levant leather—from Morocco—with a
soft pebble-grain texture commonly found in fine book binding. The inside cover is light
tan silk end sheets. The original book is small in size, 25 inches x 9 inches. Sadly, by
2004, the 83rd star had been added to the original book and it was poignantly apparent
that a larger book and case were required. Vogel and his apprentice, Johnston, designed
and built the current case out of Carrara marble (measuring 36 inches x 22 ½ inches),
leaving a resting place for the original book to lie underneath.
State. Later, the US Commission of Fine Arts recommended Master Stone Carver
Harold Vogel to design the CIA Memorial. Vogel had extensive experience—including
having carved the lettering on the marble walls at The John F. Kennedy Center for the
Vogel’s design inspiration for the Memorial Wall came from the Bauhaus style—a
modernist concept also known as the International Style—which is marked by the
absence of ornamentation and by harmony between the function of an object and its
design. Vogel’s goal was to make the memory of the fallen an integral part of the
building which, to many, represents the Agency’s mission. His vision of the CIA’s
Memorial emphasized the unity of the stars on the wall, standing as a field.
His concept was approved in November 1973 and the original 31 stars were approved
by Director William E. Colby in April 1974. Three months later, Vogel carved the
Memorial. It was done without fanfare. No ceremony was held; no pictures were
taken—the stars and inscription simply appeared.
When new names are added to the Book of Honor, stone carver Tim Johnston of
Carving and Restoration Team in Manassas, Virginia adds a new star to the Wall if that
person's star is not already present. Johnston learned the process of creating the stars
from the original sculptor of the Wall, Harold Vogel, who created the first 31 stars and
|How Gus Solved the Puzzle
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|If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
1. Headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, VA
2. Each star represents a CIA operative killed in the line of duty
|Answers to Quiz #356
June 17, 2012
2. What do the stars stand for?
3. How many stars were on the wall as of 1990?
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Debbie Johnson Angel Esparza
Arthur Hartwell Nicole Blank
Gus Marsh Bill Hurley
Marcelle Comeau Donna Jolley
Margaret Paxton Dennis Brann
Claudio Trapote Mike Dalton
Judy Bradley Bill Utterback
Moshe Schaeffer Margaret Waterman
Elaine C. Hebert Kitty Huddleston
Nelsen Spickard Jim Kiser
Betty Chambers Tish Olshefski
Ron Walts Evan Hindman
Janice Kent-MacKenzie Diane Legere
Joshua Kreitzer Stephen P. Hall
Milene Rawlinson Alex Prociv
Fiona Brooker Christine Walker
Ben Hollister Sally Garrison
Robert W. Austin Janice M. Sellers
Audrey Nicholson Peter Norton
The Memorial Wall is located in the Original Headquarters Building lobby on the north
wall. There are 103 stars carved into the white Vermont marble wall, each one
representing an employee who died in the line of service. Paramilitary officers of the
CIA's Special Activities Division comprise the majority of those memorialized.
A black Moroccan goatskin-bound book, called the "Book of Honor," sits in a steel
frame beneath the stars, its "slender case jutting out from the wall just below the field
of stars," and is "framed in stainless steel and topped by an inch-thick plate of glass."
|“The stars on the Memorial Wall are to us more than symbols, more
than history. They are a priceless part of who we are. They are the
colleagues and leaders who define us—in dedication and in sacrifice.
It is in this new century their mission we seek to accomplish. And it
is their commitment of which we seek to be worthy.”
—Deputy Director John E. McLaughlin
“When we move on—whether to another chapter in our careers or
our lives—we never lose the distinct sense of pride in belonging to
such a storied and exceptional organization. Nor do we ever forget
having been in the company of such remarkably talented men and
women, especially those we honor today, whose deeds are immortal.
We see, in our mind’s eye, these deep-cut stars engraved in marble,
and we know that we always will be part of something noble and
—Director Porter J. Goss
|Comments from Our Readers
Fortunately for us Quizmasters, you didn't get the job [you applied for with the CIA].
If you had, and then started your weekly quiz venture, you might have had to kill us if
we figured it out. LOL Daniel Jolley
I recognized the wall right away - from movies. Looked up that there are now 103
stars. Debbie Johnson
If you took the picture when you interviewed, it was some time in 1972. The 33rd star
was entered in 1972 for Raymond L. Seaborg. An interesting wall. Arthur Hartwell
N.B. No I didn't take the pic. I found it somewhere on the internet. I interviewed in
1984. And anyway, you need to do your homework. The Wall was not created until
1974, with 33 stars. Some of the stars were retro-active. -Q. Gen.
Reading some of the heroic events brings to mind how many true US Patriots are
still trying to preserve the American Way. Jim Kiser
Made me a little nervous to be doing so much research on the CIA :-)
Another 30 second puzzle solve. It took longer to cut and past the data that to solve
this one. These quizzes are getting too easy! lol Stephen P. Hall
That wasn't easy. According to the CIA there were 50 on the wall in 1987, and if you
add the stars from 1988 and 1989 in the Book of Honor, that makes 59. However if you
count all of the stars up to 1990 in the Book of Honor, there are 66. It doesn't look like
any extra stars have been fitted in, so I'm not sure. Of course it may take a while for
the HMAB to make decisions and recommendations and for names to be added, so at
least 50 and no more than 66. I'm sure there is a better answer, but I haven't found it.
There were 50 in May of 1987. The Agency lost nine employees prior to 1990, so the
number should be 59.
I'm not sure my math adds up, though. I couldn't find a photograph of the wall in 1990,
or any contemporaneous news articles for that year, and based on the list of the fallen
in the Wikipedia article, the number should be 53 in 1987, and not 50. The number was
70 in 1997, but according to my math, the number should have been 71. It looks like
during this period some earlier names that weren't included before had stars
carved for them.
So, without spending quite a bit more time on this, I'm going to have to stick with 59.
FYI - My dad was retired OSS, WWII cryptographer in the European Theater.
|When I saw your stars on the wall, I thought it had something to do
with Homeland Security, DIA, CIA, FBI or even NSA. So I went to
Google and typed in Stars on Wall FBI, Stars on Wall DIA, Stars on
Wall NSA and Stars on Wall CIA. I finally hit pay dirt. I found a CIA
page on the History of the Wall.
Then I went back to Google and found a Wikipedia page on the
History of the Wall, and it had a newer photo of the wall.
I thought I was done, but then I realized that your question of how
many stars on the wall in 1990 was not correct.
Back to Google, Images, and I typed in History of the Wall CIA 1990,
and bingo, four images popped up all taken in 1990. I brought one of
the images into Photoshop, printed it out and counted each line,
twice. then added up all the stars.
Hope I got this one right, this time.
Inside it shows the
stars, arranged by
year of death and,
when possible, lists
the names of
employees who died
in CIA service
alongside them. The
identities of the
remain secret, even
in death. In 1997,
there were 70 stars,
29 of which had
names. There were
79 stars in 2002, 83 in 2004, 90 in 2009, 102 in 2010 and 103 in 2012. 77 of the 103
entries in the book contain names, while the other employees are represented only by a
gold star followed by a blank space.
The Wall bears the inscription IN HONOR OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE
SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY in gold block letters. The Wall is flanked by the flag
of the United States on the left and a flag bearing the CIA seal on the right
Click on thumbnail for jpg; Click here for pdf.
The second book is almost double the size of the
original, but in all other ways an exact duplicate. The
outside of the book is 20 inches x 32 inches and the
page size is 18 inches x 29 ¾ inches. The Arches
paper—selected for its high archival quality and
calligraphy receptive surface—has rough, deckled
edges typical of handmade paper. The book is a work
of art thanks to the skill of a professional
calligrapher—a CIA employee—who writes each
name and draws each star. She uses a dip pen, not a
fountain pen; black sumi ink is used for its ease and
glossy finish; a Mitchell round hand square nib, size
three and a half, is reserved exclusively for the book;
the gold stars are hand drawn with a Gillott number
303 nib; the shell gold is made in France from a
hundred-year-old recipe. The stars are polished using an agate burnisher.
The style of lettering was selected by the calligrapher for its functionality and
readability. “The importance is in the names, not the lettering,” she said.
When a star is added to the Wall, the Book of Honor is updated concurrently.
In February 1973, Agency officers
proposed that a memorial plaque be
placed at CIA Headquarters to honor
employees who had died in Southeast
Asia, primarily in Laos and Vietnam. The
Honor and Merit Board expanded the
concept to recognize all CIA officers who
had fallen in the line of duty. Agency
officer Edward Ryan, then Chairman of
the CIA’s Fine Arts Commission, met
with a representative from the American
Foreign Service Association to discuss
the criteria used for the Memorial Plaques
in the lobby of the US Department of
|Director Goss at the Wall
from the original sulptor of the Wall, Harold Vogel, who
created the first 31 stars and the Memorial Wall
inscription when the Wall was created in July 1974.
The wall was "first conceived as a small plaque to
recognize those from the CIA who died in Southeast
Asia, the idea quickly grew to a memorial for Agency
employees who died in the line of duty." The process
used by Johnston to add a new star is as follows:
Johnston creates a star by first tracing the new star on
the wall using a template. Each star measures 2¼ inches
tall by 2¼ inches wide and half an inch deep; all the stars
are six inches apart from each other, as are all the rows.
Johnston uses both a pneumatic air hammer and a chisel
to carve out the traced pattern. After he finishes carving
the star, he cleans the dust and sprays the star black,
which as the star ages, fades to gray.
|Tim Johnson carving a
new star in the Wall
The first annual Memorial Ceremony was
held in 1987, 13 years after the Memorial
Wall was created. The suggestion to hold
a yearly commemoration came from an
Agency officer. The idea came to him
after he showed his son the Memorial
At the time of the first ceremony, the
Agency was in its 40th year and there
were 50 stars on the wall. Deputy
Director Robert M. Gates presided. It
was a simple event, attended by a small
number of Agency officers. The officer
who made the suggestion to hold a
ceremony said, “…having been born
abroad, in a communist country at that,
my small contribution to this memorial
meeting makes me especially proud of
being an officer of this great Agency.”
Each year since then, the Agency has
gathered to remember its fallen in a
solemn setting closed to the public.
Though the themes of the service and
sacrifice are constant, the event has
changed over the years:
•In 1990, under Director William H.
Webster, non-Agency family members
were invited to the ceremony, which until
then had been for employees only.
•In 1995, Director John M. Deutch, had
the names of all officers remembered on
the Wall, including those still undercover,
read aloud, a practice that continues to
•In 2009, Director Leon E. Panetta
|Director Gates placing the wreath