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“He’s all sweaty,” Mr. Kappaz, 69, recalled this week. “He puts his arms around me and he says, ‘All these people are invited by you and you’re paying for all this?’ I said: ‘Yes, Mr. President.’ He said: ‘Oh, I feel so bad for you.’ “

The golf course would have been quite a wedding photo backdrop when the OSS was there from 1943 to 1945.

To escape the club’s deep financial crisis, membership leased it to the government for $4,000 a month - the club’s copy of the lease is displayed in History Hall. Congressional’s remote, wooded location was ideal for learning to execute covert operations, ambushes and espionage. Under the guidance of Gen. William J. Donovan, it became known as Area F.

“They blew things up, fired live mortars and all sorts of live ammo over there,” said William Offutt, author of “Bethesda: A Social History.” “Tore the hell out of the golf course.”

Mrs. McIntosh spent only a few days there before she shipped out to China as part of her duty carrying out psychological warfare.

“It was kind of silly, the fact it was a golf course and we were pretending to be in the desert someplace,” she said. “It was good training for just how you could protect yourself if you wanted to.”

She recalled how the living quarters were so cramped, with trainees sleeping in cots stacked three to the ceiling. When the men got dressed on the upper levels, they anchored themselves by putting their feet on the ceiling.

Repainting the ceiling was just part of the $187,000 the government paid the club to fix all the damage.

Mrs. McIntosh never saw the bill, but “I remember Gen. Donovan shaking his head about it afterward,” she said.