Outside The Wire

Keeping up the fight for the real “Inglourious Basterd”

The Office of Strategic Services Society will continue its fight to see Frederick Mayer receive the Medal of Honor, even after Army Secretary John McHugh declined to reopen the case. 

“We’re the OSS Society! We never stop fighting,” group president Charles Pinck wrote in an e-mail.

The OSS Society is a nonprofit organization that celebrates the accomplishments of the OSS during World War II.

The society renewed its push to recognize Mayer in March, when President Obama presented the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, to 24 soldiers from World War II, Vietnam and Korea who didn’t receive the recognition they deserved because of their race or ethnicity.

The group then sent a letter to McHugh asking him to take action. Its request follows an earlier one from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who represents West Virginia, Mayer’s home state. 

Mayer, dubbed the “real ‘Inglourious Basterd,’” is a Jewish refugee from Germany and a naturalized American citizen. He 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.”

In a March 31 letter to Rockefeller, McHugh wrote:

“As you know, on May 9, 2013, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records thoroughly reviewed Mr. Mayer’s case, and determined an upgrade to either a Distinguished Service Cross or the award of the Medal of Honor was not supported by the evidence of record. Unfortunately, the information provided with your recent letter does not provide new, material evidence of a heroic act in combat by Mr. Mayer. It is new evidence that would provide a compelling case for reconsideration of his award, not his Jewish heritage. Accordingly, I regret that I cannot support your request for further review in this case.”

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