Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate presented a Congressional Gold Medal in honor of the members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) for their historic contributions during World War II.

Among the recipients is Brigadier General Robert Joseph Leblanc of Abbeville.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor the United States can bestow. In accordance with Public Law 114-269, a single gold medal has been struck to collectively honor the members of the OSS.

The OSS, America’s first strategic intelligence system implemented during World War II, is widely considered the foundation of modern-day intelligence operations. The group organized, trained, supplied, and fought in the war throughout Europe and Asia and played a decisive role in America’s victory. In addition to the civilian population, each military branch contributed personnel to OSS.

General Leblanc volunteered for duty with the OSS in 1943. He served in Third U.S. Army Headquarters, Special Operations as a Liaison Officer between units of General Patton’s Third U.S. Army and the French Underground. He served with the VIII and XII Corp as well as with the Fourth Army Division attached to the U.S. Army in France. In 1945, he was transferred to the China-Burma Theater where he served as a Special Operations Officer with the OSS detachment in Kunming, China. General Leblanc was released from active duty in December 1945 before returning to Abbeville, La. upon discharge.

General Leblanc has received a number of distinctions and awards for his service, including his induction into the Louisiana National Guard Hall of Fame in 2006.

A full biography of General Leblanc is available here.