ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Veterans Home was the site of a long-awaited medal ceremony, as a World War II veteran received the highest civilian award in our nation.
Michael Bellovich was once a vital member of the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA. The OSS was critical in helping the United States and its allies win World War II.
For his service, Bellovioch was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Thursday at the veterans home.
“’What does this mean for Michael?’ He's happy and knows what’s going on,” said Mary Ann Ferder, Michael’s daughter.
Almost 98-years-old and blind, Bellovich doesn’t say much. But his unit of men and women performed some of the bravest acts of the war. They were never recognized for their actions because of the nature of their work, until recently, when a Congressional act was passed to honor them for heroic and pioneering service.
“It was the first intelligence agency established by the US. From the OSS developed the CIA, FBI, and Navy SEALs,” said Grace Link, executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission.
Bellovich was drafted into the Army in 1942 and returned home in 1946. he participated in battles in Belgium, Holland, Austria, and Germany.
“He talked about some combat stuff, but not really what they did in Washington D.C. I’m not sure and they didn’t talk about it,” Ferder said.
Bellovich’s family received a replica of the medal. The original now sits in the Smithsonian.
“It’s the greatest generation and they’re dying off, so we just got to keep their memory alive. That’s that main thing,” Ferder said.