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TRIBUTE TO FREDRICK MAYER
(Senate - April 25, 2013)

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[Pages S3023-S3024]
                       TRIBUTE TO FREDRICK MAYER


 Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Madam President, I would like to speak today 
about a remarkable constituent of mine, Mr. Fredrick Mayer. His story 
is one of truly incredible bravery, and Mr. Mayer is one of the great 
unsung heroes of World War II. His selfless patriotism and unique 
service to the United States merit our recognition.
  Born to a Jewish family in Germany, Mr. Mayer was forced to flee the 
rise of nazism in his home country, and as a young man he immigrated to 
the United States with his family. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, 
Mr. Mayer enlisted in the U.S. Army. There, his talents were quickly 
recognized, and Mr. Mayer was soon recruited into the Office of 
Strategic Services, OSS--a predecessor to the CIA. Once in the OSS, Mr. 
Mayer was presented with an unimaginably dangerous mission--to be 
clandestinely sent back into Nazi territory to collect critical 
military intelligence from behind enemy lines.
  Mr. Mayer accepted his mission with full knowledge that as a Jewish-
American spy, he would almost surely be killed if he was captured. 
Having escaped Nazi Germany only years earlier, he also accepted this 
mission with a unique appreciation for the injustices that were being 
done by Nazi forces and with a deep sense of duty to help his new home 
country--the United States--put an end to those injustices.
  What happened next is perhaps best told in the words of Mr. Mayer's 
commanding officer in a May 31, 1945, written assessment of Mr. Mayer's 
performance:

       Technical Sergeant Mayer parachuted into enemy occupied 
     territory and remained there for three months, gathering 
     secret intelligence and rallying Austrian resistance 
     elements. During this period Technical Sergeant Mayer 
     exhibited not only the highest degree of courage under 
     constant risk of his life, but remarkable qualities of 
     leadership and organization which made it possible for him to 
     contact and win the support of anti-Nazi elements of all 
     classes and walks of life, and eventually to arrange the 
     surrender of Innsbruck to American troops.

  Ultimately, Mr. Mayer spent nearly 3 months living behind enemy 
lines, often wearing a German officer's uniform and using forged papers 
to move openly without capture. In that guise, Mr. Mayer covertly 
organized a network of anti-Nazi Austrians and clandestinely collected 
vital intelligence that was then relayed by his radio operator to OSS 
headquarters in Italy. According to now unclassified documents, Mr. 
Mayer collected and relayed information on a wide array of critical 
subjects--important Nazi war factories, schedules relating to the 
movement of Nazi troops and material to and from the battlefront, the 
status of Nazi defenses at key tunnels, bridges, and highway 
bottlenecks, and the whereabouts of Mussolini, Daladier, and Hitler.
  In one case, intelligence gathered by Mr. Mayer about the assembly 
and schedules of 26 military trains that were being sent to the Italian 
front led to the trains' destruction and blocked the Brenner Pass 
completely until well after the war ended.
  After months of successful operations, Mr. Mayer was betrayed by one 
of his contacts. He was then arrested by the Gestapo and brutally 
tortured while in captivity. Nevertheless, throughout the harsh 
interrogations, Mr. Mayer refused to give up the location of his radio 
operator.
  As a prisoner, Mr. Mayer was able to use his language skills and 
quick thinking to convince his captors to grant him a meeting with 
senior Nazi officers, and as American troops approached, he helped 
persuade the Nazi

[[Page S3024]]

commanders to surrender Innsbruck--likely preventing a final battle 
with U.S. forces that would have resulted in even greater casualties.
  In the end, Mr. Mayer led what is now regarded as one of the most 
successful OSS covert operations of World War II--Operation GREENUP. 
His bravery, remarkable in any context, is even more noteworthy given 
his willingness to selflessly return to enemy territory, not far from 
the childhood home he was forced to flee. He did this to help win the 
war, and he did this in service to the United States.
  Mr. Mayer is now 92 years old and lives in Charles Town, WV. He is a 
very humble man who does not brag about his wartime accomplishments. 
Thankfully, that deep humility does not mean that his amazing story has 
been lost, and I am honored to recognize Fred's service here 
today.


                          ____________________




    

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