Johnny Micheal Spann, the CIA officer who interrogated “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh at a jail in November of 2001, was the primary American to die in fight in Afghanistan.
Spann was killed on November 25, 2001, when lots of of prisoners on the Mazar-e Sharif fortress revolted, based on his memorial on the CIA web site. His final act was to warn one other colleague of the hazard. Spann was simply 32 years previous.
Lindh, who was shot within the leg through the rebellion, denied having any involvement in Spann’s homicide or serving to to plan the revolt. He pleaded responsible to supporting the Taliban in trade for prosecutors dropping extra extreme expenses, which incorporates conspiracy to kill People. Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in federal jail however was launched on Could 23, 2019, after 17 years behind bars. He was launched early for good habits.
Spann’s household fought in opposition to Lindh’s launch. Spann’s father, additionally named Johnny, instructed the New York Instances, “We’ve acquired a traitor that was given 20 years and I can’t do something about it. He was given a 20-year sentence when it ought to’ve been life in jail.”
Spann’s daughter, Alison, who was solely 9 years previous when her father was killed, despatched a letter to the White Home asking the Trump administration to maintain Lindh in federal jail. Within the letter, which she shared on Twitter, she wrote, “I really feel his early launch is a slap within the face – not solely to my father and my household, however for each individual killed on September 11th, their households, the U.S. army, U.S. clever companies, households who’ve misplaced family members to this battle and the tens of millions of Muslims worldwide who don’t help radical extremists.”
Right here’s what it’s essential to find out about Johnny Micheal Spann.
1. Johnny Micheal Spann Grew Up in Alabama Enjoying Soccer
Johnny Micheal Spann was born in 1969. He spent his childhood in Winfield, Alabama, a small city about 80 miles northwest of Birmingham. He glided by his center title, Mike.
In keeping with his memorial on the CIA web site, Spann beloved to play soccer at Winfield Excessive Faculty. He was a large receiver and operating again.
After graduating from highschool, Spann selected to remain in-state for faculty. He attended Auburn College, the place he earned a bachelor’s diploma in prison justice in 1992.
In 2002, his hometown devoted a park to their fallen hero. The Johnny Micheal Spann Memorial Park was devoted in November of 2002, subsequent to the Winfield Metropolis Corridor. The mayor on the time, Invoice West, mentioned, “That is to honor Mike Spann for the sacrifice he made. He represents the most effective we’ve to present.”
2. Spann Joined the Marines Whereas Nonetheless a School Scholar & Served For eight Years
Johnny Micheal Spann made the choice to serve his nation whereas he was a senior in school. He enlisted with the Marines in December of 1991, a number of months earlier than incomes his bachelor’s diploma.
Spann grew to become an artillery specialist. He served for eight years with the Marines and was promoted to Captain.
On the Arlington Nationwide Cemetery web site, it explains that Spann served in Okinawa in 1994 and 1995. His commanding officer there, Main Mike Mullin, described Spann as very centered on the job. “He was very severe – and his foremost concern was that his Marines have been ready to go to battle. That’s the type of man he was. He instructed you straight and caught to it.”
3. Spann Joined the CIA in 1999 & Met His Future Spouse Throughout Coaching
Johnny Micheal Spann joined the Central Intelligence Company in 1999 as a paramilitary officer. He completed fundamental coaching on the Nationwide Clandestine Service yet another earlier than his mission to Afghanistan. The director of the CIA on the time, George Tenet, described Spann as “quiet, severe, and completely unflappable … [his] stoicism hid a dry humorousness and a coronary heart of gold.”
It was throughout fundamental coaching that Spann met the lady who would change into his spouse. Shannon Spann joined the CIA across the similar time and have become a counter-terrorism officer, whereas Spann was a part of the Particular Actions Division. She defined that they acquired to know one another throughout a Fourth of July occasion and that her husband used to tease afterward that that was the “finest Fourth of July he ever had.”
They acquired married in early 2001 and had a son earlier than Spann was deployed to Afghanistan within the fall of that yr. Shannon Spann spoke on the funeral and praised her husband’s dedication to service. “He served his nation by being good. Not everyone seems to be expert or has the will to go to faraway locations to combat in wars however all of us have the abilities and may have the will to serve our nation by being good.”
4. Johnny Micheal Spann Left Behind Two Daughters & an Toddler Son; His First Spouse Handed Away From Most cancers Simply 33 Days After Spann Died in Afghanistan
Johnny Micheal Spann was the daddy of three kids. He had two daughters, Alison and Emily, together with his first spouse. They have been 9 and Four when he was killed in Afghanistan. His son, Jacob Micheal, was solely 6 months previous.
Spann’s oldest baby, Alison, is now a reporter in Biloxi, Mississppi. In an interview on CNN in September of 2013, she defined that her father taught her to “all the time try to do my finest and try to get the whole lot I might out of life. He taught me dedication, and he taught me energy.” Alison added that her father took his daughters to the Worldwide Home of Pancakes to interrupt the information that he was being deployed to Afghanistan. Alison mentioned she cried on the information and begged him to not go.
Alison defined that she and her household went to Afghanistan and visited the location the place her father was killed. She mentioned she met Spann’s former colleagues, who talked about how extremely they’d regarded Mike Spann.
In a written article for CNN in 2013, Alison shared that the household suffered a second horrible loss shortly after her father was killed in Afghanistan. Alison’s mom Kathryn Ann, Mike Spann’s first spouse, handed away after a prolonged battle with ovarian most cancers. Alison mentioned that her dad and mom met whereas he was a school scholar and Kathryn was a highschool senior. The younger household lived in Okinawa, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia whereas Spann was within the Marines.
5. Mike Spann Was Buried With Full Army Honors at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery
Johnny Micheal Spann is buried at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery. He was laid to relaxation on December 5, 2001, with full army honors.
Then-CIA Director George Tenet was in attendance. A part of his speech was shared on the CIA web site:
“It was within the quest for proper that Mike at his nation’s name went to Afghanistan. To that place of hazard and terror, he sought to carry justice and freedom. And to our nation — which he held so near his coronary heart — he sought to carry a nonetheless better measure of energy and safety. For Mike understood that it isn’t sufficient merely to dream of a greater, safer world. He understood that it needs to be constructed — with ardour and dedication, within the face of obstacles, within the face of evil.”
Spann’s star on the CIA Memorial Wall was the 79th carved on the wall in honor of fallen brokers. He was additionally posthumously awarded the Intelligence Star and the Distinctive Service Medallion.