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News | April 2, 2019

DIA honors fallen civilian during dedication ceremony

By Brian Murphy, DIA Public Affairs

Scott Wirtz, a former Navy SEAL who was working as an operations support specialist for the Defense Intelligence Agency while deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, was killed during a terrorist attack in Manbij, Syria, Jan. 16.

While all of the Defense Intelligence Agency has mourned the loss, Wirtz’s death has been especially difficult for those closest to him. Those teammates, who work in DIA’s Strategic Expeditionary Group and Global Security Division, honored their fallen friend during a dedication ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, March 21.

During the ceremony, the SEG and GSD unveiled a hand-carved flag made in Wirtz’s honor. While the flag represents service to the country, the subdued colors are indicative of the behind-the-scenes support. The dagger is the center of the SEG symbol and the hatchet is at the center of the GSD symbol. Together, they represent the unity and partnership between both units.

Additionally, the unit’s field training classroom was named in Wirtz’s honor.

“I’ve served 35 years in this uniform,” said Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., DIA’s director. “That’s 35 years of seeing men and women go off into harm’s way. Thank you for what you do.”

Because of Wirtz’s impressive resume, Ashley began his remarks by referencing the Ethos/Creed of the Navy SEALs.

“My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage,” he said. “Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the trident, I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

“My loyalty to country and team is beyond reproach,” Ashley continued. “I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.”

Ashley concluded his remarks by referencing a poem titled “A Hero’s Welcome” before telling those in attendance “What he has done, extends to you. By extension, through what you do, he is not out of the fight.”

“We are all richer for having known him,” Ashley added.