final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, December 11, 2001.
Micheal Spann, first American combatant to die in War on Terror, was killed November 25, 2001, in a dusty and chaotic prison courtyard in Afghanistan. He went down fighting, fending off a horde of enraged Muslim jihadists before he was overwhelmed.
Wielding an AK-47 and a Glock pistol, Mike killed the closest attackers as they surrounded him, pummeling him to the ground. At close range, they shot him in the head, apparently killing him instantly. A former combat Marine officer who transitioned into an elite CIA intelligence unit, Mike yielded no ground, asked for no mercy. His fierce killers gave no quarter. The handsome 32-year-old Alabama native died valiantly, but not in vain. Not in vain.
Half a world away, on December 11, 2001, Johnny Micheal Spann was interred in a stirring but dignified ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. A true hero had died in line of duty. Remarks in his honor were delivered personally at graveside by the Honorable George Tenet, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Sixteen days had elapsed since the young, idealistic American patriot was gunned down in Qala-I-Jangi prison in Afghanistan. Sixteen days.
At the time, Mike's grieving father, Johnny Spann, having just experienced the numbing, emotionally-charged service at Arlington, did not know how little he knew about his son's death. It was to be another ten years before he discovered the answers.
A lesser man would not have persevered with such intensity and devotion. Johnny Spann had a sense that something was amiss, given the limited information he was getting about Mike's CIA mission -- how and why it ended with his son being sacrificed -- executed -- in a prison riot in strife-torn Afghanistan.
Back home in Alabama, Johnny Spann was at first puzzled, then suspicious, then angered. He set out to get the answers, and knew he could not quit until he had them. This is the epic story of his improbable quest that going forward would consume his every waking moment. It is best told by Johnny Spann himself -- who lived it.
I was led to believe Mike really thought he was going to get some good information from them maybe on where bin Laden was and that was going to be his job to go over there and interview those prisoners. This was Thursday. He said as soon as I complete that and get my stuff done, I am coming back to the states and stay for the month of December. Then I’ll return in January he told me. I never talked to Mike again.
I don’t know if the pressure got to them or what, but I got a call from one of the captains who told me if I wanted to talk to him, that I could but I’d have to come up to Virginia Beach. So I got an airplane ticket and went to Virginia Beach. I was able to meet him, and I talked to him with a JAG officer there to debrief him like they did me.
The man I had come to see said he manned a submachine gun when the prison riot broke out. He was trying to cover Mike so he could get close enough to see if Mike was dead or alive. They almost court-martialed him because he disobeyed orders by going in to do that. But I was grateful to him.
You’re going to see a movie here in not too long – well maybe it will take another year or so to get it out. It’s about the whole thing. The things I’m telling you. Of course in a 90-minute movie we can’t feature all the things I’ve told you. It’s going to be titled “House of War”. That’s what Qala-I-Jangi actually means.
NEXT: FAMILY ENDURES 'GUT-WRENCHING' ACCOUNTS OF HOW MIKE SPANN DIED.