By Hollie McKay
Published June 13, 2014
Alison Spann was just a kid when her father became the first American killed in the war in Afghanistan. The recent college graduate was shocked to learn the man behind her father’s death was freed from Guantanamo Bay.
Alison Spann was just 9 when she learned her father, a U.S. Marine-turned CIA operative, had become the first American killed in the war in Afghanistan. Thirteen years later, she found out her country had freed the Taliban leader behind his death.
In the time between, Spann has cherished the memory of her father, Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, who was killed during a Nov. 25, 2001 prisoner uprising at a northern Afghanistan compound where he was interrogating Taliban fighters. The 32-year-old was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in a ceremony in which he was lauded by then-CIA Director George Tenet for trying to build a “better, safer world.” His daughter has since grown up and recently graduated from Pepperdine University, even as more than 2,300 Americans have died fighting in Afghanistan.