DERRY, N.H. – A 98-year-old World War II intelligence officer received the highest congressional honor Monday for what a historian described as “defending our country in the shadowy place between diplomacy and war.”
Retired Army Capt. Martin Gelb 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 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.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who presented Gelb with a bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal, said only about 100 of Gelb’s fellow officers are still living and called him a true American hero.
“Capt. Gelb and his fellow operatives fought a secret war. They collected intelligence, they worked behind enemy lines, they developed and advanced weapons and communications equipment, they rescued downed pilots, they helped liberate concentration camps, and yet the courage and bravery was kept classified,” Shaheen said.
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