OSS Awarded Congressional Gold Medal


Members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) received a Congressional Gold Medal a week ago Wednesday, March 21, during a ceremony held in the U.S. Capital. The OSS was America’s first effort to implement a system of strategic intelligence, preceding the CIA.

Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Bronze Medal - Obverse and Reverse
The United States Mint struck the Congressional Gold Medal which recognizes the members of the OSS. As directed by law and shown above, it also strikes bronze versions that are available to the public.

The medal recognizes the members of the OSS for their exemplary service and major contributions during World War II.

"The CIA, the Navy SEALs, the Army Special Forces, and the Air Force Special Operations Command all have their precursors in the OSS," a U.S. Mint news release notes. "The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research also traces its creation to the OSS Research and Analysis Branch."

Established June 13, 1942 by a military order issued by President Franklin Roosevelt, the OSS was headed by General William J. Donovan, the "Father of American Intelligence and the only American to receive the nation’s four highest decorations, including the Medal of Honor.

Designed by Emily Damstra and engraved by Renata Gordon, the medal’s obverse (heads) features the inscription "OSS." Shown within the letters are three figures — a woman, a paratrooper, and a man in a suit, representing the broad range of work undertaken by the OSS.

Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Bronze Medal - Obverse
Medal obverse

Each is rendered as a shape without details, hinting at the way OSS agents sought to operate anonymously or "in the shadows." The diversity in the OSS is reflected by the shadowy figures, representing that OSS members were men and women, civilian and military. Below the design are the dates "1942 — 1945," representing the years OSS operated.

The reverse shows the OSS Spearhead inscribed with code words related to important OSS missions and agents. This design was sculpted by Joseph Menna  and also designed by Damstra.

Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Bronze Medal - Reverse
Medal reverse

Both designs were reviewed in September from a combined 17 candidates and recommended by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).

Bronze replicas of the medal are authorized by Congress under  Public Law 114-269. They are now available from the United States Mint with a 3-inch version sold for $39.95 and a 1.5-inch version is available for $6.95. Orders are accepted online at catalog.usmint.gov/medals/military/ or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

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Speaking of the OSS (now CIA), the next time you happen to be in Washington, D.C., be sure to check out The Spy Museum; it makes for a fascinating visit!


May OSS operative & best-known chef Julia Child RIP !



What an awesome design and why did it take so long to honor these folks. Hope the gold versions never enter into the secondary market and are kept in the family. These coins were earned.



Since there was only one gold medal given as a collective honor for all those who served in this capacity in WWII we can be rather certain that this little treasure will be given a very prominent, safe and secure niche to allow it to be displayed among all the other priceless OSS memorabilia.

Madelaine Cope

My father Major Raymond P. St.Laurent.US Army was an OSS member and Commandant of the jump school in Kunming , China during WWII.
They were engaged in training local chinese in guerrilla warfare to fight the Japanese. He never discussed his military service, I learned about it after his death. Our family is very proud of his service.
Madelaine (St. Laurent) Cope


You have much cause to be proud of your father. The activities of the OSS in WWII in both theaters of operations consisted of a plethora of what were without a doubt among the most vital of the missions essential to the successful prosecution and eventual victorious termination of this monumental conflict. And yes, those who took part in the most daring and dangerous combat were indeed the very ones who later were least likely to talk about, or even simply mention, their personal wartime exploits; that was yet another facet of their authentic heroism.