75 years in making, the U.S. Congress bestowed its highest civilian honor upon the Office of Strategic Services March 21, 2018. The OSS is the precursor for the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Operations Command. The men and women of the OSS were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their superior service and significant contributions during World War II.
“This medal marks the first time the OSS has been officially recognized for its critical contribution to America’s victory in World War II, said Charles Pinck, president of The OSS Society. “Many OSS veterans never thought it would happen.”
Pinck, whose father was an OSS veteran who served behind enemy lines in China also said “we’ve been working on this bill many, many years and for the OSS to be recognized is incredibly gratifying.”
In a ceremony held at USSOCOM headquarters on MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, May 24, Pinck, presented a replica of the medal to the command.
“An OSS staffer said General Donovan’s imagination was so powerful, he could see an acorn and envision an oak tree. The acorn was the OSS. The oak tree is the U.S. Special Operations Command. I am not sure that Donovan’s imagination, as powerful as it was, could have imagined what the OSS has become,” said Pinck. “I know he would be incredibly proud of SOCOM’s accomplishments. I am sure he would tell its personnel what he frequently told OSS personnel: ‘You cannot succeed without taking chances.’ The OSS spearhead continues to point the way forward.”
The OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act states that “the OSS was America’s first effort to implement a system of strategic intelligence during World War II and provided the basis for the modern-day American intelligence and special operations communities.”
The Office of Strategic Services Society presented U.S. Special Operations Command with a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., May 24, 2018. The medal, one of the highest U.S. civilian awards, was awarded to the USSOCOM’s predecessor, the OSS, on Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Barry Loo)