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CIA adds star to its memorial wall honoring fallen officer

The Central Intelligence Agency memorial wall. (CIA/released)
May 25, 2023

In 1969, Jon Price Evans was traveling to Laos on official orders in his position as State Department Southeast Asia medical officer when the DC-3 airliner he and his wife, Dorothea, were passengers in began to experience engine trouble. 

While attempting an emergency landing in Vientiane, the plane crashed near the Mekong River in Thailand. Evans was killed in the crash along with three other passengers. Dorothea survived the crash. 

On May 23, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) added a star in honor of Evans on the CIA Memorial Wall, bringing the number of stars to 140. 

CIA Director William Burns marked the occasion with a promise to remember those who had given their lives to service. “We stand before these 140 stars not only with gratitude but with reverence to our fallen heroes.  We’ll never forget their sacrifice. We’ll never forget their devotion,” Burns said, according to a press release on the Memorial webpage. 

Evans graduated from Temple University Medical School in 1942. Following his graduation, he served as a physician for the U.S. Army through several conflicts, including World War  I, Korea and Vietnam. 

He also served as a medical officer for the CIA, senior medical advisor to the Shah of Iran and the Iranian Army and senior medical advisor to the Korean Army. 

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After 23 years of military service, he retired at the rank of Colonel in 1967, taking his position as State Department Southeast medical officer. 

Following the crash, he was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.  In 1999, Dorathea joined him at Arlington. Her headstone reads simply: His wife. 

The CIA Memorial Wall is located in the original CIA headquarters building in Langley, Virginia. Some of the stars have names, however, due to the nature of the agent’s work, some stars are placed with anonymity. A ‘Book of Honor’ accompanies the stars, listing the names of the identified agents. Today, 37 of the stars do not carry names. Prior to Evans, the last stars were added in 2022, honoring two undercover agents. 

According to the CIA, new stars are added following a recommendation by the Honor and Merit Board. To be added, it is required that the death must be of an inspirational or heroic character while in the performance of duty or as a result of terrorism, premeditated violence, motivated by Agency affiliation or while serving in hostile or exceptionally hazardous environments. Tim Johnston, of Carving and Restoration Team in Manassas, Virginia, serves as the official carver. Johnston was trained by Harold Vogel, the original carver of the wall.

Evans joins several other honored members who also perished in plane crashes. 

While the CIA Museum is not open to the public, the agency has established an online resource to provide wall viewing, resources, information and declassified information to the public.