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Veterans of the OSS, the CIA, the predecessor, set to get recognition

Gen. William Donovan organized and led the Office of Strategic Services.

Years before the CIA was formed, a decorated AMERICAN general, known as “Wild Bill” led a clandestine group working to turn the tide of the second world War.

Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan, a Medal of Honor recipient during world War I, organized the Office of Strategic Services in 1942, at the beginning of the war. The unit ran intelligence networks and resistance operations behind enemy lines in Europe and Asia.

Now, more than 70 years after their main work for the Allies, the OSS will be honored with the OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act, which is adopted by the Congress and signed by President Barack Obama this month.

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OSS veterans and members of the Virginia-based OSS Society had fought for years for the special recognition for the spy agency.

“I never thought that it would be for the recognition that was much too late,” veteran Marvin Edwards, 95, told the Jacksonville Daily Record.

The OSS, which consisted of members of all military branches, had almost 13,000 members during the year in operation.

Less than 100 remain, according to a press release from Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who co-sponsored the Senate bill with Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

“The congress has ensured that their the courage of the spirit and their love for the country will live long in our nation’s memory,” Kirk said in a statement.

The awards are set to be presented to the survivors during a ceremony in 2017, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the OSS.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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