June Spotlight

Memorial Day Commemorations Honored the Office 
of Strategic Services in the Tarn, France

In May, French special forces veterans supported by the American community, including Democrats Abroad Toulouse members, organized a special three day commemoration for the 80th anniversary of the founding of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) from which the CIA was created in 1947. Welcome receptions, various lunches with one hosted by the Mayor of Le Vintrou, dinners, and refreshments at the Chateau de Gaix where the OSS team stayed in 1944 rounded out the ambitious schedule.

The extensive commemorative program included tandem parachute jumps in Albi and a parachute drop that featured both American and French paratroopers landing on the actual drop zone where the 15-man OSS team dropped by moonlight in 1944, a wreath-laying ceremony by Democrats Abroad Toulouse at the stele in Le Rialet and at Betges that honored the two OSS men, S/Sgt Bernard Gautier and T/5 Robert Spaur, who died in combat. Official ceremonies included French veterans, local dignitaries, the local community and American relatives of OG PAT members. A new stele honoring Spaur and Gautier was unveiled at the Le Vintrou cemetery.