OSS Veteran's Certificate and Lapel Pin

by Les Hughes

2003 by author




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Shortly after the end of the war, veterans of OSS received at their homes a letter, on OSS stationery, from General Donovan. The letter, dated 28 September 1945, read:

To Former Members of OSS:

It is my pleasure to forward to you the enclosed certificate commemorating your service in World War II as a members of the Office of Strategic Services. This certificate exemplifies in a tangible way my feeling that some such recognition should be given to personnel of OSS as evidence of the resourcefulness, courage and devotion to duty shown by the men and women of the Agency who provided our Nation with an unprecedented service which hastened the day of victory.

To provide identification of the members of the organization, a group of former OSS associates has arranged for the design and manufacture of insignia available to those who are receiving certificates. The insignia is a lapel emblem which has the letters "OSS" stamped in gold on a red enamel background. At the request of this group there is enclosed herewith a coupon for the use of those who wish to procure such emblems.

I also enclose the text of remarks made at a meeting of OSS personnel held on 28 September, and a copy of President Truman's letter to me. The credit for OSS accomplishments belongs to the superior personnel who made them possible. I am deeply grateful for your loyal and effective contribution.


William J. Donovan


Examples of the certificate, bearing General Donovan's signature, and the lapel emblem are illustrated. The emblem also exists as a 'key', similar to a Phi Beta Kappa key. Whereas the back of the lapel emblem bears the name of the manufacturer, A. E. Company, Utica, NY, the key emblem bears no markings.