Members of the Coast Guard not only safeguarded America’s coastline during World War II, the information they gathered while on patrol was vital to the Office of Strategic Services and the nation’s war effort.
That largely unknown contribution will be recognized Sept. 12, when the Coast Guard is honored by the Office of Strategic Services Society, the precusor to the Central Intelligence Agency, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
According to a Coast Guard release, the service’s support of the OSS on covert, counter-intelligence, espionage and sabotage operations in the maritime environment was “a unique instrument for national security policy during World War II domestically and abroad, and it helped lay the foundation for future Coast Guard operations.”
Because the information was classified for so long, many are not fully aware of the relationship between the OSS and the Coast Guard, including Guardsmen who were attached to the OSS in Europe and the China-Burma-India Theatre.
Among those expected to attend the medal presentation at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters are Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schulz; Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray; Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden; and Charles Pinck, president of the Office of Strategic Services Society.
Founded in 1947 by Gen. William Donovan, the OSS Society honors the historic accomplishments of the OSS during World War II by educating the public about the continuing importance of strategic intelligence and special operations to the preservation of freedom.