FALLS CHURCH, Va., Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The OSS Society called on Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Jeb Hensarling to pass the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Congressional Gold Medal Act (HR 3929). The bill will honor the few surviving members of the "Greatest Generation" who served in the OSS, the World War II predecessor to the CIA, US Special Operations Command, and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research with Congress' highest civilian honor. Congress has given this honor to numerous groups from World War II.
The OSS played a significant role in America's victory during World War II. Its Maritime Unit was the predecessor to the US Navy SEALs. Its Jedburghs and Operational Groups were predecessors to US Army Special Forces. It gathered critical intelligence before D-Day and other invasions. It supported resistance movements around the globe. The OSS recruited America's leading academics. Its personnel volunteered for the most dangerous missions of World War II behind enemy lines. Historian Patrick O'Donnell said the OSS "changed the face of World War II. You'd be very hard pressed to find a smaller group of individuals who made such a profound difference in the history of modern American warfare."
It was led by General William Donovan, a Medal of Honor recipient whom President Eisenhower called the "last hero" and President Roosevelt described as his "secret legs." OSS personnel included renowned figures such as the "French Chef" Julia Child, Hollywood director John Ford, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, Nobel laureates Ralph Bunche (the first person of color to receive a Nobel Peace Prize) and Jack Kilby (the inventor of the integrated circuit), Pulitzer Prize recipient Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Virginia Hall (the only American civilian woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross in World War II), and James Donovan who was portrayed by Tom Hanks in "Bridge of Spies."
A companion bill was passed unanimously by the Senate earlier this year. Three hundred and twenty members of the House of Representatives - nearly 75% - have cosponsored the legislation. The bill must be passed by the House Financial Services Committee that is chaired by Rep. Hensarling before it can be passed by the full House and signed into law. If it is not passed before the 114th Congress adjourns, the bill will die and some of the greatest heroes of the "Greatest Generation" will never be honored for their service.
"General Donovan said OSS personnel, who were drawn from every branch of the military, performed 'some of the bravest acts of the war.' Their bravery deserves to be recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal," said OSS Society President Charles Pinck.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/oss-society-urges-house-leadership-to-honor-the-greatest-generation-300345814.html
SOURCE The OSS Society, Inc.