The innovative clandestine warriors of the World War II era are ever closer to well-deserved recognition. The Senate has unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to veterans of the Office of Strategic Services — the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA and special operations forces.
“The members of the OSS saved thousands of lives in World War II, and their courage and sacrifice played a critical role in the success of the Allied campaign,” says Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican. “The 13,000 members of the OSS established intelligence networks deep behind enemy lines, bolstered resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia, and helped the Allies win the war.”
The resolution, which was first introduced three months ago, now heads to the House for approval.
The OSS itself was shepherded into action in 1941 by Army Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan. The force grappled with “silent, unending work of keeping America safe” against Nazis and other American enemies and became known for their bold, often creative methods of warfare.
“Those who served our country in the OSS deserve to be honored for their heroic, pioneering contributions to our nation. Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and not many of these brave OSS veterans are still with us. We should recognize their service and their valor with the highest honor Congress can confer,” said Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat.
More on OSS history can be found through an official CIA history and the non-profit OSS Society, which still counts original OSS officers in its membership.