Wednesday, December 7, 2016


OSS members, circa 1942
     It's nice to see that these World War II-era intelligence operatives are finally being honored. These men and women served in the precursor to the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). 
     A bill is being signed into law by President Obama, and bestows the Congressional Gold Medal on the aging veterans of the OSS. The bill had over 320 co-sponsors in the House. For some ridiculous reason, there were rules that prevented groups, as opposed to individuals, from receiving the medal. The rules were waived. 
     A December 2016 article in the Washington Post (Gibbons-Neff), reported that these ridiculous rules were passed by the 114th Congress and required a waiver that had to be proposed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and approved by the rest of the leadership.
     There were 13,000 original OSS members and now, 70 years later, they number fewer than 100. Kudos to these remaining veterans and to all their loved ones. This medal will mean much to them. 
     Last year, after attending an AFIO luncheon in Tysons Corner, Virginia, I toured the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. I came across a roster of OSS personnel, and was amazed at the famous Hollywood actors among them: Marlene Dietrich and Sterling Hayden; Fred Mayer, the real “inglorious bastard” who was nominated for the Medal of Honor; celebrity chef Julia Child, Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche, film director John Ford, Pulitzer Prize recipient Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and four CIA directors — William Casey, William Colby, Allen Dulles and Richard Helms. General "Wild Bill" Donovon is standing, fourth from the left in the above photo- he created the OSS in 1942.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and foreign intelligence agencies. His views are his own and do not reflect those of any organization he is a member of. 

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