Posted: 12:06 am EDT
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The Diplomatic Security (DS) Memorial was dedicated on September 18, 2015, to honor the many individuals who have given their lives to support the mission of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory B. Starr hosted the event with Antony J. Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State; Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey, Deputy Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Plans, Policies, and Operations; and Bill Miller, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service, in attendance. See D/Secretary Blinken’s remarks here.
Before the installation of the Diplomatic Security Memorial, DS was the only federal law enforcement agency without its own memorial. Many of those who gave their lives in service to DS were not eligible for inclusion on the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Memorial, which primarily honors members of the Foreign Service who died while serving abroad.
On the date of its unveiling, the DS Memorial contained the names of 137 individuals from diverse backgrounds and countries throughout the world. They include:
27 U.S. Government Personnel
- 4 Diplomatic Security Service Special Agents
- 6 Diplomatic Couriers
- 12 U.S. Military—Marine Security Guards
- 5 Other U.S. Military—Embassy Security Operations
36 Private Security Contractors
74 Local Security Personnel
- 31 Local Guard Force
- 31 Local Law Enforcement
- 6 Foreign Service Nationals
- 6 Locally Employed Staff
The DS Memorial consists of the 1) DS Memorial Wall–A Visual Tribute, located inside the main lobby of Diplomatic Security headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia; 2) Memorial Kiosk, installed with the DS Memorial Wall, the kiosk displays information about Diplomatic Security and its personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. The information is searchable by name, year of death, country of death, and job position at time of death; 3) Memorial Website at (www.dsmemorial.state.gov) with the names of the fallen personnel hosted in a special portion of the Diplomatic Security website, the online DS Memorial displays all names of the fallen and provides a search tool for locating individuals.
The memorial goes back to 1943 and includes James N. Wright, a Diplomatic Courier who died on February 22, 1943,
in Lisbon, Portugal, in the line of duty in an airplane crash. Two years later, another Diplomatic Courier, Homer C. White, died on December 4, 1945, in Lagos, Nigeria, in the line of duty in an airplane crash.
The largest number of casualties is suffered by the local security personnel. At least 31 local law enforcement personnel (working for the host government) were lost protecting USG facilities and personnel overseas. As many local guard force employed/contracted by the USG were also killed in the line of duty. In 2014, Shyef, Moa’ath Farhan, a Yemeni Local Law Enforcement employee, died in Yemen, while protecting a checkpoint near U.S. Embassy Sanaa during a suicide attack. In fact, 7 of the 31 law enforcement personnel killed were all lost in Yemen. That same year, Abdul Rahman, a locally employed staff was killed while performing his duties near the traffic circle at the main entrance to Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. He was one of several individuals killed by a lone suicide bomber. In 2013, Mustafa Akarsu, a member of the local guard force was killed during a suicide attack at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey. That same year, eight members of the local guard force died on September 13, during the attack on U.S. Consulate Herat in Afghanistan.
Note that this memorial only includes FSNs/locally employed staff who supported the mission of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and not all FSNs who lost their lives while working for the USG overseas.