Obama signs Sen. Warner’s bill to honor OSS veterans
President Obama has signed into law legislation authored by Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) to honor veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) with the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II.
“The members of the OSS were essential to the Allied forces’ victory in World War II, but for many years, their heroic contributions – which included some of the most daring covert operations of the war — remained shrouded in secrecy, their impact largely unknown to the American people. I am pleased that we are finally able to recognize them publicly with the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Sen. Warner, the incoming Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The members of the OSS are part of the proud tradition of American intelligence professionals who have worked tirelessly and quietly in defense of our nation since its founding. They serve in anonymity, knowing that their greatest contributions to our safety and security may never be made public. We seldom hear about their successes or their sacrifices, but they allow us to go about our everyday lives free from fear of those who wish to do us harm, and for that, we owe these brave men and women not only respect, but enduring gratitude.”
The OSS conducted critical operations during the war including establishing intelligence networks, training resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia, and carrying out “mercy missions” at the end of the war to save the lives of thousands of Allied prisoners of war. It was created in 1942 under the leadership of General William J. Donovan to better coordinate and oversee American intelligence operations. At its peak, 13,000 members served in the OSS including notable names such as Julia Child, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., John Ford, and James Donovan, who was depicted in the 2015 movie, “Bridge of Spies.”
Sen. Warner is the incoming Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. This summer, he lead an effort to recognize Virginia OSS veteran Stephanie Rader by posthumously awarding her the Legion of Merit.
The OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act was co-sponsored by 73 Senators, including all 15 members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.