Sen. Bob Dole is urging the leadership of the House of Representatives to pass the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Congressional Gold Medal Act in the lame duck session of Congress. The OSS was the groundbreaking World War II predecessor to the CIA, the US Special Operations Command and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. It was founded by General William Donovan, a Word War I Medal of Honor recipient who is the founding father of the US intelligence and special operations communities.
The OSS drew its personnel from every branch of the military. Its Maritime Unit was the predecessor to the Navy SEALs. Its Jedburghs and Operational Groups were predecessors to US Army Special Forces. Elements of the Army Air Corps served as the air arm of the OSS and were predecessors to the Air Force Special Operations Command. The Marines who served in the OSS were forerunners to the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. The OSS recruited its operational swimmers from the US Coast Guard.
In an op-ed scheduled to appear in Military Times, Senator Dole – a World War II combat veteran – wrote the “OSS supported resistance movements around the globe. General Eisenhower said the intelligence it gathered before D-Day alone justified its creation. Its Morale Operations branch pioneered the use of psychological warfare. It led Operation Halyard, one of World War II’s most famed rescue missions. General Donovan said that OSS personnel, who went behind enemy lines on the most dangerous missions of World War II, performed ‘some of the bravest acts of the war.’ Their bravery deserves to be recognized.”
Senator Dole noted the “OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act was passed unanimously by the Senate earlier this year. The House bill has 320 cosponsors – nearly 75% of its members. The House has honored many other groups of World War II veterans with Congressional Gold Medals. Under new rules enacted for the 114th Congress, the House leadership must issue a waiver to allow passage of Congressional Gold Medal bills that honor groups of people. It granted a waiver to the only other Gold Medal bill passed by the House in this session of Congress, which honored civil rights marchers. There is no reason a waiver should not be granted for the OSS, too.”
“Time is running out to pass this bill before Congress adjourns. If the gavel falls before the bill is passed, some of the greatest and least recognized heroes of World War II will never be honored for their service. This would be a travesty. When General Donovan died in 1959, President Eisenhower said he was the ‘last hero.’ It is time to honor the ‘last hero,’ and all the heroes of the OSS, with a Congressional Gold Medal.”
SOURCE The OSS Society, Inc.