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 sequence inspecting 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 fight in Afghanistan tells Fox Information Digital she desires folks 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 army households throughout America are getting 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 numerous 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 all the time going to know him from the lens of a 9-year-old child,” Alison Spann instructed 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 Power plane on Dec. 2, 2001 at Andrews Air Power Base

“I’ve heard so many tales about him from his mates, his colleagues, my household and I don’t need folks to recollect him as a headline on the information, you already know, ‘Mike Spann, first casualty, or Mike Spann, CIA officer first killed after 9/11,” Spann continued. “I feel that what I would really like folks 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 beneath assault, he was among the many first to volunteer to go over into Afghanistan and do what he thought he wanted to do,” she mentioned. “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 energy


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 as we speak it nonetheless feels surreal that that’s how issues resulted in Afghanistan. I definitely by no means thought at 9 once I misplaced my dad over there that we might nonetheless be on this warfare by the point I used to be 30, however to see it finish in such chaos was actually heartbreaking,” she instructed Fox Information Digital. 

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

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

“I initially didn’t even wish to go. I used to be terrified, as you possibly can 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 mentioned. “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 folks and I bought the chance to go to a girls’s shelter and an orphanage and the orphanage was full of youngsters who had misplaced each their dad and mom by the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” Spann instructed Fox Information Digital. “I bought to go to a girls’s shelter and listen to the tales of how these girls have misplaced their palms for the easy act of going to the grocery retailer or a market and not using a male member of their household. They had been so grateful. They only saved saying ‘thanks, thanks for what the People are doing over right here, thanks to your father.’” 

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

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