Outside The Wire

Honoring the “real ‘Inglourious Basterd’”

Continuing its push to see Frederick Mayer receive the Medal of Honor, the Office of Strategic Services Society on Sunday sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh urging him to reopen the case.

The OSS Society, a nonprofit organization that celebrates the accomplishments of the OSS during World War II, last week released a statement saying it believes Mayer, the “real ‘Inglourious Basterd,’” deserves the nation’s highest award for valor.

The society’s statement came as the White House tomorrow will present the Medal of Honor to 24 soldiers from World War II, Vietnam and Korea who didn’t receive the recognition they deserved because of their race or ethnicity.

Mayer, a Jewish refugee from Germany and a naturalized American citizen, was recruited by the OSS, the World War II predecessor to the CIA, according to the OSS Society.

He then volunteered to lead Operation Greenup, one of the most daring and successful missions behind German lines. Mayer’s actions were portrayed in the award-winning documentary “The Real Inglorious Bastards,” and in Patrick O’Donnell’s book, “They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in Nazi Germany.”

Courtesy EX-POW Bulletin

Courtesy EX-POW Bulletin

Mayer, now 92 and living in West Virginia, said the OSS Society contacted him about their efforts.

“They told me they’re not giving up,” he said. “I appreciate that, but it’s been turned down twice. I don’t expect anything to happen.”

The soft-spoken man also said he was not motivated by medals or awards.

“I did my job, and that’s all that really mattered,” he said. “I didn’t do it to get a medal, that’s for sure.”

Read the letter to McHugh here; read more about Mayer’s actions here.

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