House to consider bill to honor World War II heroes next week

The U.S. House of Representatives to recognize OSS veterans next week.
Photo credit: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

The House will consider a bill next week to recognize the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II predecessor to the CIA and special operations forces, The Hill has learned.  

{mosads}Debate on the bill to recognize OSS veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal is currently scheduled to take place next Wednesday around 4 p.m., according to an aide to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).


The bill would award a single Congressional Gold Medal to commemorate the men and women of the OSS in recognition of “their superior service and major contributions during World War II.”

The agency served as the predecessor to the U.S. military’s special operations forces, including the Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces. 

The OSS, created by President Franklin Roosevelt after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was behind some of the most daring operations in World War II.  

In one of those operations, detailed recently by Full Measure, 1st Lt. John Billings, now 93, in February 1945 flew over the Alps as part of Operation Greenup to drop three spies behind enemy lines in Austria.

With the windspeed at 200 miles an hour, the three spies parachuted and made their way to Innsbruck, Austria, where the Gestapo had its headquarters. The mission would inspire the 2009 movie “Inglorious Basterds.”  

At its peak, the OSS had 13,000 operators working in Europe, Asia and Africa, according to the segment. 

Its founder and director was Army Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan, a Medal of Honor recipient in World War I. He called his forces — a third of which were made up of women — his “glorious amateurs.” 

McCarthy had tweeted last week that the House would vote on the bill, introduced by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), but did not specify when.  

The Senate version of the bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), passed unanimously in February. 

The House next week will also consider a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the many Filipinos — regular army and guerrilla resistance fighters — who fought with the U.S. against the Japanese during World War II.

It will also consider a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the sailors of the U.S. Merchant Marines of World War II in recognition of their “dedicated and vital service during World War II.”

–This report was updated at 3:27 p.m.

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