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Rep. Peter DeFazio Awards Congressional Gold Medal to Eugene-Area WWII Veteran

Mar 20, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today presented the Congressional Gold Medal to George Wickes, a Eugene-area World War II veteran.

“I’m proud to honor Mr. Wickes’ extraordinary service and dedication to our nation,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “This long-overdue medal is in recognition of both his exemplary work with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which for too long has been overlooked by history, and his sacrifice for our country during one of the most challenging times in our history.”

Mr. Wickes served concurrently as a cryptographer in the Army and the OSS, the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), from 1943-1946. He described his post-war OSS experience in Vietnam in the first episode of the Ken Burns’ documentary, “The Vietnam War.”  After his discharge from the Army and the OSS in 1946, Mr. Wickes went on to become an English professor, teaching for over 47 years at the University of Oregon. 

The OSS was established in 1942 by President Roosevelt to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and collect and analyze intelligence information needed for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The OSS was collectively honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on December 14, 2016, under the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act.

U.S. military veterans or their family members are encouraged to contact Congressman DeFazio’s office to learn more about eligibility information and assistance with military medals.