Ex-US defense chiefs back medal for WWII’s OSS

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Former U.S. defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta are supporting the effort to get a national honor awarded to members of the World War II spy agency led by a Buffalo native.

The Falls Church, Va.-based OSS Society says Gates and Panetta have sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to pass the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act. The medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.

The OSS was the predecessor to the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command. OSS agents ran spying and guerrilla warfare operations in Asia and Europe during the Second World War.

The agency was led by Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan, a Buffalo-born lawyer who received the Medal of Honor for his heroics during World War I.

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