- Awards & Honors
- About AFSA
A 12-year research effort ending in 2020 discovered 67 diplomats and consular officers dating back to 1794 whose deaths in circumstances distinctive to overseas service had not been noted on the AFSA Memorial Plaques in the Department of State's C Street lobby. In May 2021, AFSA unveiled new plaques displaying those historical names and providing open space to inscribe the names of future colleagues who die serving our nation abroad. Since then, additional historical deaths have been documented and more are being researched. AFSA is memorializing those earlier colleagues here on this Virtual AFSA Memorial Plaque.
Click on a name to read more about an honoree.
Jeannette Lucille LaFrance was a 32-year-old Foreign Service secretary serving at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Originally from Nashua, New Hampshire, she served in the Woman's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. Joining the Foreign Service in 1947, her first tours were in Warsaw and Lima. Posted to Cairo in 1952, she was found dead in her embassy-leased apartment on March 18, 1954. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning gas water heater.
Thomas McGrail was a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Information Agency. He joined USIA in 1952 after working as a professor at the University of New Hampshire and serving in the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1947 in the Pacific theater, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After initial USIA assignments in Tel Aviv and Tokyo he was traveling to assume duties as cultural attaché at the U.S. embassy in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). The Pan American Airways flight 7 carrying him, 35 other passengers, and 8 crew left San Francisco on November 8, 1957 headed to Honolulu but never arrived. Debris and bodies were eventually found floating in the ocean. The cause of the crash was never determined, with both sabotage and mechanical failure being possibilities. For more information, see Gregg Herken with Ken Fortenberry, "The Mystery of the Lost Clipper," Air and Space Magazine, September 2004.