Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

CIA Johnny Michael Spann

32, of Winfield, Alabama.
Spann was killed during a deadly four-day prison riot near Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan. Died on November 25, 2001.

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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"It was an honor to have served with you. You were hands down the best FDO I worked with in my 18 years as an artilleryman. Your death hit me pretty hard. Not a day goes by that I don't consider myself lucky to have served alongside a true hero. Semper Fidelis sir. I will see you at Fiddler's Green."
Ryan Jeffries of Charlotte, NC/USA

"May God give you blessed peace and may God bless your family"
Thomas Lowe of Ireland

"I was a class mate at Winfield and a friend of johnny "MICHEAL" spann. I've not spoke to much about our friendship until a few months ago when I looking at Somme of my moms old photos of my?? 4th or fifth grade grade photos and noticed MiKe at my b-day party! I remember him at that time a low spoken but heard clearly when he spoke, and afraid of no one size nor stature! This is what at Age 45 I still carry with me! Each and everyday! He was a hero then and always will be!! I salute you Mike and your family!! And GOD SPEED BE WITH YOU! MY Friend...."
David R. Franks of unknown

"We have found a lost Memorial Bracelet here at the Days Inn, Cullman, Al for Johhny M Spann would appreciate it if someone can call and tell us where to send this bracelet or someone may come and pick it up exit 308. 256-739-3800"
Days Inn Cullman of Cullman, Al

"R.I.P. buddy. It was an honor to have served with you. Sorry I couldn't get there in time."
Doc of Team Bravo

"Today on 9/11/11 I remember your sacrifice as well. Thank you, and God bless your family."
Mimi Falk of Methuen, MA, USA

"I spent a day with Mike Spann at the D.C.airport. our plane was a few hour late due to a storm. We sat at a little table talking and sharing. told me he was in the service and was flying home to see his wife and childrem. The youngest was about 3 Mos. at that time and Mike said his favorite thing was holding his baby girl, freshly washed and powdered. He just love that smell.
He said his wife Katheryn would love to talk to me as I was a songwriter and she loved music. We sat next to each other and talked about relationships. He gave me his card with a number to reach him at if I ever needed help. So sweet.so young,so caring.He was charming man and listened to what I had say. We had a bit of a flirtation going until I had to change planes in las Vegas and was met by my boyfriend by surprise. We both hated for that trip to end. I'm so sorry that his life had to end so early.I'll always remember that ride. Bless Him god!"
Bonnie Karlyle of Burbank CA ,

"NTM-A Regional Support Command North will be conducting a small memorial day ceremony at the memorial at Qala-i jangi. One of our Airmen has chosen to re-enlist at the memorial to pay tribute to the sacrifices Mike Spann and many others have made for our country. We will also continue the efforts to keep the memorial maintained. May God Bless your family!"
Major Karla Porch NTM-A/RSC-N of Camp Mike Spann, Afghanistan

"I am a 1SG with 40th En Bn.
Today I took 8 soldiers and we cleaned and washed off the Mike Spann memorial in the fortress where Mr. Spann operated and fought from. I never met Mike Spann, but I am stationed on Camp Mike Spann and to not keep his memorial site alive in that fortress would be ashame. So we went there and cleaned the area. Thank you Mr. Spann for being what few can. Your memorial is there in one piece so others can visit that site to remember."
1SG Michael McGuire of Camp Spann, Afghanistan

"Also God bless your family, your children, wife, and friends. 5-17-2011
(message below 5-17-11)"
Joshua of Ohio

"I am doing a book project for my freshman English project, and im 15 years old, iv always looked up to Men in service and iv always wanted to be in some branch of the Federal Government, like the FBI for example, but to begin my book is called "Class 11." As i read through the book i specifically remember reading a section about the first us casualty in Afghanistan. The first man killed Mike Spann. I knew that the first person killed in Afghanistan was a CIA agent but now i have a name and a face to relate that to. Obviously his family wanted him to return home safe, but that just wasn't what happened. His death will never be forgotten, and nether will his service to this country, but finally his death has a very clear meaning. With a trillion dollars, many dead U.S service men, and 10 years later we finally got the criminal mastermind responsible for the thousands of death on September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden. With the help of all the U.S service men, including Mr. Mike Spann we got him. Id like to thank him for his service. In personally dont know very much about the man, but in many ways i look up to him. It takes a lot of guts to do what he did, as well as what other CIA agents do. It takes guts to be in any branch of the military. As i conclude this message i want to say thanks to all the Service Men, including Mr. Mike Spann."
Joshua of Ohio

"There is not a day that goes by without repeating the name "johnny mike spann" to myself. I never knew the man, but I hope that I can stand next to him with GOD some day."
Chad Johnson of The United States of America

"Mike Spann will always be remembered and honored, along with all Ameican warriors, but he is the first hero I thought of yesterday with the news that UBL was taken down."
Chris R. of Coal County, Oklahoma

"I remember and your dedication to information regained.Thank you Johnny."
Barry W. Bales of beaverton,oregon

"I am a retired Marine, with a husband and daughter that are both active duty Marines.I cherish the sacrifice your son did and will always remember him. Semper Fi."
Jade Benay of Camp Pendelton, Ca/USA

"I am humbled and honored to be wearing a " Let no HERO be forgotten" Memorial Braclet in memory of Johnny Michael Spann."
Jennifer of Joliet, IL USA

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,100 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
This is a gift! We have wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and want you know that everyone here at Project Compassion does and will always CARE.
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"Thank you Micheal Spann for your service to this great Country, For serving with the Special Activities Division of the C.I.A. you well never be forgotten"
Gary Lytle of Murfreesboro Tn

"Have Never Forgotten, Will Never Forget"
Solo of New Mexico

"To see so many kindnesses written about a family member is wonderful, and I thank you all so much. It means the world to all of us, family and his friends. It's been three weeks since the last town Memorial for him, and the Fort Hood Victims were part of Mike's candlelight Memorial this year. God Bless our Military, our paramilitary, God Bless the U.S.A. Reading such kindnesses is a little overwhelming, even after it's been 8 years. Thank you all, it means so much to us as family, and to this small town where Mike grew up and was nothing but admired during his life. He will always be missed, always. Mike's smile and his memory are bigger than life."
Myra of Winfield, AL USA

"I just retuned from Afghanistan I was stationed at Camp Mike Spann, and have spent some time at Qala-i-Jangi prison, hearing the stories about Johnny Mike Spann boosted moral for all troops, he is a true american hero and just to stand where he stood was an honor in itself for me, god bless his family, the united states military, and the united states of america"
Mike B of Small Town, Kentucky

"July 19, 2009: I just finished Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton - if you want to know how lucky America is to have selfless, brave and dedicated heroes like Mke Spann, read that book. God bless Mike's family - Shannon, his children, his parents and sisters - please know that there are many of us who humbly thank Mike and all of you for the awful sacrifice you have made on behalf of our liberty. I pledge to you that every child I teach will know of Mike and his heroism, small comfort though that may be in your loss. God bless you.

I urge everyone to oppose clemency or parole for the traitor, John Walker Lindh who could have warned Mike of his peril and chose to remain silent."
A History Teacher of Commack, NY

"God Bless Mike Spann and his family. Thank you for the ultimate sacrafice you made. Rest in peace & you will not be forgotten."
M. Lyons of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

"My son is there now. God bless the soldiers."
Wayne of Dothan, Al. USA

"Recent headlines made me think of Mike Spann, though I never met him. All one can say about such Americans is that their sacrafice will never be forgotten."
C. R. R. USMC of Coal County, OK

"On the way to work today I saw 2 F-18's fly over...I thougth of freedom, I thought of Mike Spann...rest in peace brother..long live Honor...Sgt Matt Stimmel Portland Police Bureau"
Sgt Matt Stimmel of Portland Police Bureau, Oregon

"I was just entering a picture of the sign I had up at my business when he died. I am placing it on my website. I wanted you to know about it because all these years later (it is now 10/25/08) I still remember. You can see the picture of the sign which was in front of my business and over six feet high. It is at the website: www.joycegodwingrubbs.webs.com/
and it is in the story: The Complex was Complex. Just click on the story and it will come up.
It was located in Moline, Il at the Five Points Wellness Complex. We thank you, his family and friends, and of course him, for his service."
Joyce Godwin Grubbs of Davenport, Iowa

"The soldiers do not speak. Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them? They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts. They say: We are young. We have died. Remember us. They say: We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done. They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave. They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours they will mean what you make them. They say: Weather our lives and our deaths are for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this. They say: We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning. We were young. they say. We have died. Remember us:"
William Taylor of Bonita Springs, Fl.

"God Bless Johnny M. Spann and his family. I will never forget the sacrifice that this brave American made in the fight to keep us safe from terrorism."
Marcus Schwab of Lake Havasu City, AZ USA

"By George J. Tenet

"Mike understood that it is not enough simply to dream of a better, safer world. He understood that it has to be built—with passion and dedication, in the face of obstacles, in the face of evil.""

"Johnny Michael Spann was a TRUE AMERICAN HERO. He will never be forgotten. Johnny rest in eternal peace now. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and for that we as a nation will be eternally grateful.
To the family left behind to bear the pain of his untimely death...May God hold each and every one of you close to His heart. I know your pain...I too lost my son through the hands of terrorists in Afghanistan. I just found out that they placed a plaque with my sons name next to your sons plaque, at the foot of the United States Flagpole in Afghanistan. I feel deeply honored that our sons will forever be an inspriration to our future Heroes of America. Our sons had almost the same name. My son is SFC John Michael Hennen KIA on Fathers Day of 2007.
My deepest condolences to the Spann family."
Susan Moreno of Vinton, La. 70668 USA

"December 9, 2007
To the family of Johnny Michael Spann:
Johnny gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Dont Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away!
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I am student that is learning about the war on terror. I came across Michael's name through research and through class lectures. While my work is academic, I find myself touched and saddened by the loss of this American Hero. His death has had an enormous impact shaping the war on terror. A consoling thought for his family is that he will not be forgotten."
Brian of Durham, NC U.S.

"Michael Spann, a true hero. I salute you!
I serve in Mazar-e Sharif in Afghanistan, and Michael Spann's name is well known to most ISAF Soldiers here. I often visit the military camp named "Camp Mike Spann" here in Mazar-e Sharif. He was a true hero and ended his life in the most heroic way as far as I have learned talking to Afghani officers and others."
Intelligence officer from a European country

"michael spann was a man of honor and served his country well. hes a hero and will always be rememberd as will all the men and woman in the US armed forces and CIA i am a US MARINE JUST BACK FROM IRAQ and i love my country as did johnny michael spann RIP"

"johnny was a true hero who gave his life for his country so that we can have a better life R.I.P johnny spann and god bless america"
bob lee of virgina

"Mike Spann was a true American Hero. I never met him or his family but Mike Will Never Be Forgotten. I pray for comfort for the family and for strength to carry on. America is Blessed by his service. My family and I, Thank all of You for his service."
Carol Bishop, A Soldiers Angel of Greenwood, SC USA

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us the freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves under the flag,
And whose coffin is draped in the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

©Copyright by Charles M. Province
Thank you for your service, bravery, and commitment
to duty. Thank you for my freedom.
Rest well in Gods loving embrace brave
solider. You are remembered by a
grateful nation."
A Fellow Veteran and Proud American

"Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

(Mary Frye – 1932)

Rest well in Gods loving embrace brave solider. You Sir, are a True American Hero and are remembered by a grateful nation."
William D. Taylor of Bonita Springs Florida

"I'm just a passery-by, who happened upon the "autobiography" Mike wrote of himself posted on honormikespann.org. I saved his words, aspiring that I might apply such language to myself some day. Even after his passing, he motivates me now to be more, and act more. His integrity is my aspiration."
Ross of United States

"mike was a great person and friend.
believe me he is missed everyday.
the time spent with mike growing was always exciting and unpredictable(we had some fun)
to read these messages to his family makes it an honor to have known him.
i know in my heart that mike believed in what he was doing and he truly was trying to make this world a better and safer place for all of us.
we love you mike and we miss you."
dale weeks of winfield alabama

"God bless you and your famalies. You are a true American."
Noah of Ft Collins Co

"Even today - I still think of the events that revolved around the death of your son - Johnny Michael Spann. I wish there was some way to bring to the masses of Americans the story of your son's bravery. I hope someday I can see the star at Langley on the wall that represents the Best of Americans."
John of Dhahran - Saudi Arabia

"I visit my daughter in DC twice a year. I always go to Arlington to Mike's grave and leave something from Auburn. He is not forgotten. Alabama remembers!"
Pat Stone of Huntsville, AL

"Johnny was the bravest of us all. We pray for and with him, as he sits looking at us and caring for us from his high place in heaven."
Timothy A. Ruane of arlington, va. USA


"I can't imagine the pain you have endured since Mr. Spann's death. I want to thank you for your own bravery as well as that of Mr. Spann."
Brook of San Diego, CA

"I brought my young cousin from Ireland to visit Arlington yesterday. We stopped by your grave to thank you for your service to our great country. God bless America and all who serve her. And God bless all those who risk their lives to promote freedom for the next generation. We need more like Mr. Spann. 11/25/05"
a teacher of Rockville,Md

"Mrs. Shannon Spann,
Though I never knew you or your husband, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice laid down by Johnny Micheal Spann, and his entire family, including you. Sometimes I find myself wondering where all the good has gone to in this world, but I take time to remember you, your husband, and your family's loss, and I realize there is so much good left out there, and it's worth fighting for.
Thank you. I will not forget what your husband did for me, and for this nation. Though I am only 18, I will continue to honor his memory for years and years to come."
Conor Harrigan of Cutchogue, New York

"My name is Michael Spann aswell, im from AUSTRALIA"
Michael Spann of Brisbane, Qld, AUSTRALIA

"to the family and friends and loved ones of Johnny "Mike" Spann:
I think that he was a brave soldier and what he did for this country both as a CIA Agent and a Marine is the best example of a Hero and he will forever be in my heart.
I recently bought a September 11th Mercy BAND because I lost someone that day, and it bears his name and I will wear it every day in order to be reminded of what people have done and continue to do for this country."
Alaina of Crestline CA, USA

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country, not just as a CIA Agent, but as a U.S. Marine as well. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

Thanks Mike, God Bless you and your family."
Jim Shaw of Pasadena, Maryland

"I had the great privilege of meeting Johnny (Mike as he told me his name was) a few times while I was serving with 3rd Force Recon, USMC. Though I never served with him, I knew just by the way he greeted me that he was a true and genuine person, agent, and Marine. He still had that Marine spirit and in death, he still does.
I didn't believe it when I heard he was KIA, but after a few days I knew it had to be true.

The last time I seem him he was wearing blue jeans, an AK-47 assualt rife slung over his back and a smile on his face. RIP Brother."
Sgt. J. A. O'Connor, USMC (retired) of Philadelphia, PA, USA

"War Eagle and Godspeed."
D F Van Horn of Auburn '91

"To the Father: An article appeared in our Sunday paper this morning about your continuing struggle to come to grips with the events that led to the loss of your son. I started not to read it for fear it would sadden my sunny Sunday morning and then I realized that I owe you and your son at least that...much more than that actually.I have two sons in college, one away from home and I miss him very much, every day. I cringe at the thought that his time at home is over but he's in the "world" now, making a life for himself. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to think that I'd never see either of my sons again...your everyday reality with regard to yours. I was in the Air Force from '69-'72, also a very dangerous time in out history so I can appreciate your family's sacrifice from the standpoint of having been there, at least to some degree. But then there's the task of quietly living with a loss such as this, day in and day out, in terms of the relationship that only a father can have with his son, that I can't even begin to fathom. Keep the memories strong and clear in your mind. Try to let the pain wash away and avoid the sense of bitterness that could ruin the rest of your life. Know that the sacrifice he (and you) made is as noble as one make in this world and that he is one of many to whom we are eternally grateful. Seeing the picture of you standing over his marker at Arlington rekindles feelings that I can't explain not haveing experienced such a loss...but simply imagining it reminds me of how fragile life is and that we can lose those dearest to us in the blink of an eye. We are very sorry for your loss and hope that time will assuage your grief...of course, that's easy for me to say....


Ken Newman
Sycamore Twp., (Cincinnati)OH"
Kenneth E. Newman of Cincinnati, OH

"For Mrs Spann, the children of Johnny Spann, his father and the rest of his family, God Bless Johnny Spann and his family for all they lost in their service to this great country. I read the entire story of Johnny Spann this morning with tears in my eyes for him and all the young men who serve with such great honor. While I hate that their young lives are cut short in this war I praise their dedication to their country and to all Americans. We are forever in their debt. Please accept my heartfelt thanks and my most sincere condolences."
Sheila Michael of Sandwich, IL USA

"Johnny was a true warrior and patriot,the best of the best, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. For this he will never be forgotten and always honored."
Jonny F. of Santa Monica, CA

"I am a college student that is following in Johnny's footsteps. I wish I could have met him. He was a true hero, Johnny if your watching right now, we all miss you and you are a lot of people's hero."
Emile of San Diego

My name is José Cebolinho. I live in Denmark. Today there was an article in a Danish newspaper about Johnny Michael Spann, the first US soldier who died in the war against terror in Afghanistan.
I cried while I was reading. I feel sorry for his family specially his children. But I just want to say, that there isn't many hero's in our world but Johnny Michael Spann was One of Them.
Best regards"
José Cebolinho of Bagsværd, Denamrk

"Thanks for stepping forward when America needed you. To the family - Thank you for your contribution to our liberty and freedom. I'm sorry for your tremendous loss."
Ronald Carlson of Montrose, MN

"To the widow, children, parents, and siblings of Mike Spann:

My deepest and most heartfelt "thank you" for the sacrifice you and Mike have made that my family and I might continue to enjoy our freedom in this wonderful nation. What a tragedy that our finest young men and women are the ones who pay the highest sacrifice for that freedom, yet what a wonderful tribute that they do so unselfishly.

Mere thanks and tears seem so inadequate, but they are all I have other than my vigorous support of our nation and President."
Paul Elliott of Dallas, TX

"Having read an account of your life you are a true American Hero to me. I only wish there were more like you out there because we would have this thing won already."
WO1 Gerald F. Kuruc of Germany

"My deepest prayers are with you and your family. May God bless you."
Paavo Saarinen of Helsinki, Finland

"Goodbye John Spann and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"My deepest respect goes to the family of this brave warrior. Our nation owes everything to men like him. May God bless you."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"God bless you all. It is such a tragedy when parents have to say good bye to their children. And for babies to not be able to have their parents with them throughout their formative years, and for wives to be without their companions. I pray for God to send His Spirit to you daily to give you comfort and strength. I also pray each day for peace, and for world leaders who are wise enough to choose peace first!"
Bruce Richards of Milton, FL

"For Mrs Spann and family.
I'm so sorry for your loss."
Cat of Washington,District of Columbia,United States of America.

"Thank you , you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"Dear Spann Family,
As the end of the first year since Johnny was killed approaches, I wanted to thank you for the sacrifice your family made. When Johnny was killed, I remember my brother, a SSgt in the US Marine Corps telling me how outraged he was at Johnny's death and what had happened to him. He told me that Johnny had also been in the Marine Corps and what a wonderful reputation he had. Little did I know that my brother, would also be called to give his life in Iraq to protect the freedoms we never think about and take for granted.

I was honored to be able to read Johnny's name along with my brother's and about thiry other marines this last September 11, 2003. They were read along with all those who have lost their lives in the war's on terrorism and also the victims of 9/11. Flags were placed for each one of them in "The Healing Field" in Sandy, Utah near Salt Lake City.

It was a privilege to read his name. God bless your family and mine as we grieve together. I am grateful to know that one day I will meet my brother again in a world that is far better than this. I know your family will also. Semper Fi."
Julie Cawley Hanson of Roy, Utah

"To the family and friends of Johnny Spann:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Johnny for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Johnny Spann:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Johnny, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on