Small-town boy Johnny "Mike" Spann was fulfilling his duties as a CIA officer on Nov. 25, 2001, when he became the first American known to die in combat in Afghanistan.
Spann, 32, was remembered in his hometown of Winfield, Ala., as a goal-oriented ex-Marine who always wanted to do the right thing without drawing attention to himself.
"He gave his life in the line of work — in the line of duty," said Spann's father, Johnny Spann, who blamed Usama bin Laden for his son's death.
Rioting prisoners captured by opposition fighters killed Mike Spann at a compound in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, the agency said. Officials recovered his body from the prison after Northern Alliance rebels backed by U.S. airstrikes and special forces quelled an uprising by Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners.
Spann was survived by a wife and three children, ages 4, 9 and 6 months.
Spann joined the CIA about two years ago. He was a paramilitary trooper in the CIA's commando arm, which is equipped to arm and train local forces and to conduct covert assaults.
When Spann joined the CIA he told his family, "Someone has got to do the things no one else wants to do," his father recalled. "That is exactly what he was doing in Afghanistan."