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August 16, 2008

National Archives to Open Official Personnel Files of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)

The National Archives will open more than 35,000 official personnel files of men and women who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which was the U.S. wartime intelligence agency during World War II.

The files cover civilian and military personnel who served and were later transferred, discharged, reassigned, or died while in service prior to 1947.

The 750,000 pages include initial applications to join the OSS; preliminary training and subsequent work assignments; pay, leave and travel documents; evaluations, basic medical information; and awards, decorations and discharge papers. Occasionally, photographs are included in the application file. Senior officials, officers and men engaged in special combat actions, such as Detachment 101, Jedburghs, X-2, espionage, and major intelligence missions may have citations summarizing those efforts in the files.

Some of the notables who were in the OSS include former CIA directors Allen Dulles and William Casey, famed chef Julia Child, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, Arab/Israeli peace negotiator and civil rights advocate Ralph Bunche, and Hollywood actor Sterling Hayden

What a treasure trove this will be for genealogists! And now you can start by searching for individuals who served in the OSS online in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) listing for the OSS Personnel Files, ARC ID: 1593270.

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