Friday, January 01, 2010

CIA Agent Scott Michael Roberson

Remember Our Heroes

Scott Michael Roberson died in Afghanistan last week, his family says. But a Summit County family said Saturday the CIA gave them permission to grieve publicly for the loss of Ohio native Scott Michael Roberson, 39, a CIA security officer killed in the blast.

What Roberson did at the CIA base in Khost province, in southeastern Afghanistan, is unclear. His family knew not to ask him about work, said Roberson's sister, Amy Messner of Cuyahoga Falls.

But the CIA post – called Forward Operating Base Chapman -- has been described as a critical hub of counterterrorism operations. Besides handling informants from both Afghanistan and nearby Pakistan, CIA officials at the base also plan drone attacks against al-Qaeda.

"He always told us that if something happened, he would have no regrets. He was where he wanted to be," Messner said. "He said the people he served with were the finest he ever met."

Roberson was born in Manchester, just south of Akron, and lived there until his family moved to Connecticut for work, Messner said. Roberson returned to Ohio as a teen and graduated from a Cincinnati-area high school before graduating with a degree in criminology from Florida State University.

Messner speculated that so much travel in his youth may have led to her brother's globetrotting later on. Although Roberson he spent much the 1990s anchored at the Atlanta Police Department -- where he rose to the rank of detective, working undercover in the narcotics unit -- he began the next decade abroad, Messner said. Roberson first worked as a contractor with the United Nations' security forces in Kosovo and went on to protect high-risk officials in Iraq. He only recently joined the CIA, Messner said.

Roberson last visited Ohio at Thanksgiving when his mom and Messner threw a baby shower for he and wife, Molly. The couple's only child, a girl named Piper, is due in February. "To see him smile unwrapping all these baby onesies with 'I love my Daddy' on them is a great memory to have," Messner said.

Roberson was a war hero, Messner said, but most wouldn't have guessed it. "If you met him in a bar, he'd have you laughing all night and you'd never guess he had this whole other side to him," she said. "He was incredibly charming, funny and sarcastic. He loved 'The Benny Hill Show' and could quote all the stupid B-Movies."

Roberson was also cofounder of the Metro Atlanta Police Emerald Society and loved riding motorcycles with the Iron Pigs, a national motorcycle club for law enforcement and firefighters.

Talking about her brother was bittersweet for Messner.

"We feel in some sense that we are lucky, that we can name our loss," she said. "We feel horrible and sorry for the families who must mourn in private and for those who may never know (their loved one who worked for the CIA) is dead." Roberson's family is planning a public memorial service Saturday in Akron. The venue and time have not yet been set, Messner said.

Born in Manchester, OH and raised in Tolland, CT, Scott returned to Ohio to complete high school at Sycamore in Cincinnati, starting a trend of globetrotting that would continue throughout his life and result in friendships that spanned the world. Though distance often separated him from loved ones, he was the glue that held lifetime friendships together.

He is survived by his wife, Molly (née Kaiser) of Knoxville, TN and their soon-to-arrive daughter Piper; parents, Harry and Sally Roberson of Stow, OH; parents-in-law Anthony and Nannette Kaiser of Knoxville, TN; sister Amy (Jeff) Messner of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; brothers-in-law Anthony (Jenna) Kaiser of Cincinnati, OH and Will (Cathy) Kaiser of Breckenridge, CO; sister-in-law Ashleigh Kaiser of Breckenridge, CO; uncles Michael (Carole) Kovach of Stow, OH, Jim (Zelda) Kovach of Canton, OH, Tom (Sue) Roberson of Clinton, OH, Rod (Brenda) Roberson of Clinton, OH, and aunt Valerie (Ronnie) Thomas of Akron, OH; special cousins Karen Young, Keith Kovach and Adam Kovach; and hundreds of family and friends who are so proud to have known him. He will be escorted by dear friend Kelley Castell, CDR USN, and welcomed home by loved ones including lifelong friends David Bachiochi of Tolland, CT; Greg Johnson of Tolland, CT; and Scott Castell of Houston, TX.

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