WINFIELD, Ala. (AP) -- Johnny "Mike" Spann craved the anonymous grunt work no one else wanted -- covertly serving his country far away from this sleepy town that he called home.
Spann was fulfilling his duties as a CIA officer when he was killed in Afghanistan, becoming the first American known to die in combat there.
"He gave his life in the line of work -- in the line of duty," Spann's father, Johnny Spann, said Wednesday after the CIA confirmed his son's death. He said Osama bin Laden was to blame for what happened to his son.
Rioting prisoners 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-Qaida prisoners.
The riot began Sunday when hundreds of prisoners stormed an armory for weapons. By the time the fortress was recaptured on Wednesday, hundreds of prisoners and dozens of alliance fighters were dead.
In his hometown of Winfield, in northwestern Alabama, Spann was remembered by friends and relatives as a goal-oriented ex-Marine who always wanted to do the right thing without drawing attention to himself.
His father said it was those traits that made him a natural for the CIA, where Spann had wanted to work since he was a teen-ager.
Spann joined the CIA about two years ago. He was a paramilitary trooper in the agency'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," his father said.
Spann was survived by a wife and three children, aged 4, 9 and 6 months. His father said he had been in Afghanistan for about six weeks.
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