Daughter of first American killed in Afghanistan: Mike Spann’s legacy is larger than a ‘headline on the information’

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This text is a part of a Fox Information Digital collection analyzing the results of the U.S. army withdrawal from Afghanistan one yr in the past this week.

The daughter of the primary American to be killed in combat in Afghanistan tells Fox Information Digital she desires individuals to recollect him not as a “headline on the information,” however as a trailblazer who was among the many earliest to volunteer and “do what he thought he wanted to do” there following 9/11.

Alison Spann made the comment about her father, Johnny “Mike” Spann, as military families throughout America are making ready to mark the 1-year anniversary of the turbulent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Mike Spann, a CIA officer, died in a November 2001 Afghanistan jail revolt shortly after interrogating John Walker Lindh, a captured Islamic militant dubbed the “American Taliban” for becoming a member of and supporting the terrorist group within the wake of the Sept. 11 assaults. 

“I feel my dad has obtained quite a lot of consideration solely as a result of he was the primary American killed after 9/11 and for me, I’ll by no means know Mike Spann as an grownup, I’m at all times going to know him from the lens of a 9-year-old child,” Alison Spann informed Fox Information Digital in an interview. 


The body of CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann is carried by a Marine honor guard from an Air Force aircraft on Dec. 2, 2001 at Andrews Air Force Base

The physique of CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann is carried by a Marine honor guard from an Air Drive plane on Dec. 2, 2001 at Andrews Air Drive Base

“I’ve heard so many tales about him from his associates, his colleagues, my household and I don’t need individuals to recollect him as a headline on the information, you understand, ‘Mike Spann, first casualty, or Mike Spann, CIA officer first killed after 9/11,” Spann continued. “I feel that what I would really like individuals to recollect is the form of particular person he was.” 

Spann says her father described himself as an “motion particular person” and that his time in Afghanistan displays that. 

“When america is underneath assault, he was among the many first to volunteer to go over into Afghanistan and do what he thought he wanted to do,” she stated. “And I feel there’s something to be admired about an individual who when issues get tough, or when the time comes, they’re the primary to volunteer, selflessly, to go over and do one thing like that.”” 

Spann, who now works as a information anchor and reporter for WLOX in Mississippi, says it’s “heartbreaking” to see what life is reverting again to in Afghanistan one yr after the Taliban reclaimed power


Johnny "Mike" Spann, 32, shown in this undated family photo, worked for the CIA's clandestine service, the Directorate of Operations.

Johnny “Mike” Spann, 32, proven on this undated household photograph, labored for the CIA’s clandestine service, the Directorate of Operations.

“I feel right this moment it nonetheless feels surreal that that’s how issues led to Afghanistan. I actually by no means thought at 9 once I misplaced my dad over there that we might nonetheless be on this conflict by the point I used to be 30, however to see it finish in such chaos was actually heartbreaking,” she informed Fox Information Digital. 

“There are allies nonetheless over there in Afghanistan… these are those that risked their lives and the protection of their households’ lives to help us in our time of want whereas we have been over there working in Afghanistan,” Spann stated. “And it’s actually heartbreaking to see that we have now primarily deserted them. I can’t think about what that makes us appear to be on the world stage.” 

Spann additionally expressed concern in regards to the restrictions the Taliban have been imposing upon ladies. These freedoms being taken away, she says, resonates extra together with her following a 2002 journey to the war-torn nation shortly after her father’s demise. 

“I initially didn’t even need to go. I used to be terrified, as you may think about of going to a rustic the place not solely my dad was killed however the place I perceived it to be stuffed with individuals who dedicated the assaults on 9/11,” she stated. “However what I skilled there was completely totally different.” 

Shannon Spann, seated left, widow of Johnny "Mike" Spann, the CIA officer killed during a violent prison uprising in Afghanistan, and his mother, Gail Spann, seated right, watch an honor guard from the U.S. Marines fold a flag during a funeral ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, on Dec. 10, 2001.

Shannon Spann, seated left, widow of Johnny “Mike” Spann, the CIA officer killed throughout a violent jail rebellion in Afghanistan, and his mom, Gail Spann, seated proper, watch an honor guard from the U.S. Marines fold a flag throughout a funeral ceremony at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, on Dec. 10, 2001.


“I skilled simply extraordinarily humble and grateful individuals and I acquired the chance to go to a ladies’s shelter and an orphanage and the orphanage was full of kids who had misplaced each their mother and father by the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” Spann informed Fox Information Digital. “I acquired to go to a ladies’s shelter and listen to the tales of how these ladies have misplaced their arms for the straightforward act of going to the grocery retailer or a market with out a male member of their household. They have been so grateful. They simply stored saying ‘thanks, thanks for what the Individuals are doing over right here, thanks in your father.’” 

Spann stated the journey “completely remodeled what I thought of Afghanistan and to look again at 9-year-old me, seeing these youngsters who had misplaced all the things by the hands of the Taliban and listening to these tales of those ladies, to know that issues have reverted again,” is “heartbreaking.” 

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