Virginia’s roots to the intelligence and special operations communities run deep. They grew from Gen. George Washington, our nation’s first spymaster. They grew from Gen. William Donovan, who founded World War II’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) — the predecessor to CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). They grew from Mosby’s Rangers. When Donovan created the OSS, one of the first things he did was gather all available information about this group of Confederate guerrillas who operated in Northern Virginia. They grew from Prince William Forest Park, an OSS training facility. They grew from the OSS Maritime Unit, the predecessor to the Navy SEALs based in Virginia Beach. They grew from the OSS’s Assessment Station S in Fairfax. They grew from every branch of the U.S. military that contributed personnel to OSS.
Virginia can proudly claim to be home to the American intelligence and special operations communities. They play an essential part in the state’s economy.
Virginia has been home to thousands of people who have served our nation. They include legendary figures such as Elizabeth McIntosh, who served in the OSS Morale Operations Branch and later with CIA. She was named a “Virginia Woman in History” in 2012. Donovan was a Medal of Honor recipient and the only American to receive the country’s four highest decorations.