Text: S.2234 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 114-269 (12/14/2016)
[114th Congress Public Law 269]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[[Page 130 STAT. 1391]]
Public Law 114-269
To award the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the members of
the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in recognition of their superior
service and major contributions during World War II. <<NOTE: Dec. 14,
2016 - [S. 2234]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Office of
Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `` <<NOTE: 31 USC 5111 note.>> Office
of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) The Office of Strategic Services (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
U.S. Special Operations Command and the National Clandestine
Service chose the OSS spearhead as their insignias.
(2) OSS founder General William J. Donovan is the only
person in American history to receive our Nation's four highest
decorations, including the Medal of Honor. Upon learning of his
death in 1959, President Eisenhower called General Donovan the
``last hero''. In addition to founding and leading the OSS,
General Donovan was also selected by President Roosevelt, who
called him his ``secret legs'', as an emissary to Great Britain
and continental Europe before the United States entered World
(3) All the military branches during World War II
contributed personnel to the OSS. The present-day Special
Operations Forces trace their lineage to the OSS. Its Maritime
Unit was a precursor to the U.S. Navy SEALs. The OSS Operational
Groups and Jedburghs were forerunners to U.S. Army Special
Forces. The 801st/492nd Bombardment Group (``Carpetbaggers'')
were progenitors to the Air Force Special Operations Command.
The Marines who served in the OSS, including the actor Sterling
Hayden (a Silver Star recipient), Col. William Eddy (a
Distinguished Service Cross recipient who was described as the
``nearest thing the United States has had to a Lawrence of
Arabia''), and Col. Peter Ortiz (a two-time Navy Cross
recipient), were predecessors to the Marine Special Operations
Command. U.S. Coast Guard personnel were recruited for the
Maritime Unit and its Operational Swimmer Group.
[[Page 130 STAT. 1392]]
(4) The OSS organized, trained, supplied, and fought with
resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia that played
an important role in America's victory during World War II.
General Eisenhower credited the OSS's covert contribution in
France to the equivalent to having an extra military division.
General Eisenhower told General Donovan that if it did nothing
else, the photographic reconnaissance conducted by the OSS prior
to the D-Day Invasion justified its creation.
(5) Four future directors of central intelligence served as
OSS officers: William Casey, William Colby, Allen Dulles, and
(6) Women comprised more than one-third of OSS personnel and
played a critical role in the organization. They included
Virginia Hall, the only civilian female to receive a
Distinguished Service Cross in World War II, and Julia Child.
(7) OSS recruited Fritz Kolbe, a German diplomat who became
America's most important spy against the Nazis in World War II.
(8) America's leading scientists and scholars served in the
OSS Research and Analysis Branch, including Ralph Bunche, the
first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize;
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.;
Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg; Sherman Kent; John King
Fairbank; and Walt Rostow. Its ranks included seven future
presidents of the American Historical Association, five of the
American Economic Association, and two Nobel laureates.
(9) The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence
and Research traces its creation to the OSS Research and
(10) James Donovan, who was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the
Steven Spielberg movie ``Bridge of Spies'' and negotiated the
release of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, served as General
Counsel of the OSS.
(11) The OSS invented and employed new technology through
its Research and Development Branch, inventing new weapons and
revolutionary communications equipment. Dr. Christian Lambertsen
invented the first underwater rebreathing apparatus that was
first utilized by the OSS and is known today as SCUBA.
(12) OSS Detachment 101 operated in Burma and pioneered the
art of unconventional warfare. It was the first United States
unit to deploy a large guerrilla army deep in enemy territory.
It has been credited with the highest kill/loss ratio for any
infantry-type unit in American military history and was awarded
a Presidential Unit Citation.
(13) Its X-2 branch pioneered counterintelligence with the
British and established the modern counterintelligence
community. The network of contacts built by the OSS with foreign
intelligence services led to enduring Cold War alliances.
(14) Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North
Africa in November 1942, was aided by the networks established
and information acquired by the OSS to guide Allied landings.
(15) OSS Operation Halyard rescued more than 500 downed
airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia, one of the most
daring and successful rescue operations of World War II.
[[Page 130 STAT. 1393]]
(16) OSS ``Mercy Missions'' at the end of World War II saved
the lives of thousands of Allied prisoners of war whom it was
feared would be murdered by the Japanese.
(17) The handful of surviving men and women of the OSS whom
General Donovan said performed ``some of the bravest acts of the
war'' are members of the ``Greatest Generation''. They have
never been collectively recognized for their heroic and
pioneering service in World War II.
SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Presentation Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of the
Congress, of a gold medal of appropriate design in commemoration to the
members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), in recognition of
their superior service and major contributions during World War II.
(b) <<NOTE: Determination.>> Design and Striking.--For purposes of
the presentation referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the
Treasury (referred to in this Act as the ``Secretary'') shall strike a
gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be
determined by the Secretary.
(c) Smithsonian Institution.--
(1) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal in
commemoration to the members of the Office of Strategic Services
under subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to the
Smithsonian Institution, where it will be displayed as
appropriate and made available for research.
(2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the
Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal received
under paragraph (1) available for display elsewhere,
particularly at other appropriate locations associated with the
Office of Strategic Services.
SEC. 4. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold
medal struck pursuant to section 3 under such regulations as the
Secretary may prescribe, at a price sufficient to cover the cost
thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and
overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.
SEC. 5. STATUS OF MEDALS.
(a) National Medals.--The medals struck pursuant to this Act are
national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States
[[Page 130 STAT. 1394]]
(b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31,
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered
to be numismatic items.
Approved December 14, 2016.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2234:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 162 (2016):
Feb. 22, considered and passed Senate.
Nov. 30, considered and passed House.