October 20, 2016
By Lorra B.
Though it has bipartisan support, Congress has failed to pass a bill that would honor members of an organization originated during World War II that essentially birthed the Central Intelligence Agency as well as other pivotal elite units of the U.S. Military.
The bill was introduced last year by Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio.
There are few veterans left alive from the Office of Strategic Services, A World War II intelligence agency, to accept the Congressional Gold Medal, many are in their 80’s and 90’s and may not live long enough to get through the red tape if Congress does not keep stalling.
The hold-up seems to be due to a new congressional rule stating that the Medal is intended for an individual and cannot be given to a group or an organization, though a ‘companion bill’ was passed in the Senate unanimously, according to Checkpoint. Latta has asked for a waiver but the House has yet to grant one or explain why.
“Before the most recent session of Congress, groups of World War II veterans such as the Tuskegee Airmen — the famed group of African American aviators who fought in the skies over Europe — have received the medal, and earlier this year the rule was waived so the medal could be awarded to civil rights activists who led the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Ala. Yet for the aging members of the OSS, a waiver has remained elusive, with the House’s Republican leadership largely silent on why that has been the case.”
House Financial Committee Chairmen Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) stated that he “looks forward to voting in favor of the bill.” He also stated that this debacle is not of his doing and that the waiver, or suspension of the rules, must first be proposed by Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House Majority Leader. The bill would then be sent to the floor to be voted on.
Latta stated, “The OSS played a central role in creating America’s intelligence and special operations communities as we know them today. I introduced this legislation to call upon Congress to collectively recognize these brave men and women for their efforts, and honor them for their extraordinary service on behalf of this great nation.”
Charles Pinck, president of the OSS Society, isn’t buying any of it and accused Hensarling of stalling.
“It is unbelievable that Hensarling would oppose this patriotic bill honoring some of the greatest heroes of the ‘greatest generation,’” Pinck stated and indicated that the hold-up was being done on purpose.
Pinck said, “They play these games so that they don’t actually have to say no. “Somebody is stopping this bill. It’s not just happening because of nature. The question is who’s stopping it, and our understanding is that it’s Hensarling.”
The Office of Strategic Services Society, who represents OSS veterans, released a statement on Monday. If the 114th Congress adjourns before the bill is passed it “will die and some of the greatest heroes of the “Greatest Generation” will never be honored for their service.”
In the statement Pinck went on to say, “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.”
OSS started in 1942 and their operations took them all over the world gathering intelligence, training resistance fighters and even infiltrating Nazi Germany.
You may know the OSS as they are today, Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Thank you for your service and sacrifices Brave Heroes. You deserve to be honored…
By Lorra B.