Press Releases

Senate Passes Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to OSS Veterans

Office of Strategic Services members conducted intelligence and espionage activities during World War II

Feb 23 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee members Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), along with Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), today praised the unanimous Senate passage of their bipartisan resolution awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) “in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II.” The resolution, which was first introduced on November 5, 2015, now heads to the House for approval.  

“Those who served our country in the OSS deserve to be honored for their heroic, pioneering contributions to our nation, “ Sen. Warner said. “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.” 

OSS was the primary intelligence agency of the United States during World War II, and the predecessor to today’s Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Command. 

“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,” Sen. Blunt said. “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. Their numerous accomplishments are deserving of the honor of the Congressional Gold Medal.” 

The OSS trained many of the leaders and personnel who formed the Central Intelligence Agency following WWII. Their ranks included four future directors of the CIA: Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey. Other notable OSS members include United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Hollywood film director John Ford, and culinary icon Julia Child. Former OSS General Counsel James Donovan, who was recently portrayed by Tom Hanks in the Steven Spielberg movie, “Bridge of Spies,” negotiated the release of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

The OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act was cosponsored by 73 senators including every member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in addition to Blunt and Warner, including Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Jim Lankford (R-OK), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (R-OR). Representative Latta introduced the measure in the House, where it is cosponsored by 37 members. 

“The OSS played a pioneering role in creating America’s intelligence and special operations communities as we know them today,” said Rep. Latta. “Their efforts were critical in securing victory for the Allied Forces in WWII. It is time we recognize these brave men and women for their efforts, and honor them for their extraordinary service on behalf of our great nation. I applaud Senators Blunt and Warner for their efforts in securing passage of the bill in the Senate, and will continue to work to ensure its passage in the House.”