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World War II intelligence officer gets Congressional medal

September 23, 2018

WOLFEBORO, N.H. (AP) — A 97-year-old World War II intelligence officer, who sent coded messages across hundreds of miles jungles in Southeast Asia, has received the highest congressional honor.

Technician Fourth Grade Roger Campbell was part of the Office of Strategic Services, which was created during World War II and was the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. He served in what was then known as Burma but is now Myanmar. Trained in the use of carrier pigeons, he collected intelligence and waged guerrilla warfare. He also conducted air drops using biplanes.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen presented Campbell Friday with the Congressional Gold Medal at the Wright Museum of World War II. Tuftonboro resident Campbell is only one of about 100 OSS officers still alive. In the presentation, Shaheen called Campbell an “American hero.”

“Roger served his country with bravery and distinction as a member of the United States’ first intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services,” Shaheen said. “Roger’s service took him to the jungles of Burma where he served with OSS Detachment 101 - the Kachin Rangers. As Winston Churchill described the region, ‘One could not choose a worse place for fighting the Japanese.’ Roger experienced the area’s challenges firsthand, contracting malaria three times while overseas.”

This is the second time this year that Shaheen has presented a former OSS officer with the Congressional Gold Medal. In June, she gave the medal retired Army Capt. Martin Gelb, who is now 98. He served in England, France and Germany on missions that included supporting U.S. and British operations during the D-Day invasion and assisting with the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

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