Posthumous Bronze Star for WWII Vet

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Rep. Charles Rangel presented a posthumous Bronze Star Jan. 25 to Joseph Gould, a former Upper West Sider and operative for the Army’s Office of Strategic Services during World War II. The award was accepted by Gould’s son Jonathan, who said in a separate interview that he was “very proud and very pleased that I was able to get Congressman Rangel to present the award.”

The elder Gould had been nominated for the honor in June 1945 for his work in recruiting and training anti-Nazi Germans for espionage missions inside Germany. Gould was officially awarded the medal shortly afterward, but he never came forward to claim it and rarely mentioned it to his family.

Rep. Charles Rangel gives a Bronze Star Medal to Jonathan Gould on behalf of his father, Joseph Gould (inset).

“The first I heard of it was when my dad referenced the award in a 15-page memoir he wrote in 1989,” Jonathan Gould said.

He is still not exactly sure why his father never claimed the medal, but thinks it has something to do with the classification of documents relating to his OSS service.

“I suspect that he couldn’t claim it because the files were sealed,” the son said.

In August 2008, the U.S. government formally opened the personnel files of 24,000 people who worked for the OSS, including Joseph Gould.

The younger Gould asked for help from Rangel, a Korean War veteran who earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for Valor. The honor was officially approved last October.

Joseph Gould continued his service after the war, serving in the manpower division of the office of the military government of the United States, which was responsible for administering the U.S. zone of occupation in Berlin. After being honorably discharged in 1946, he returned to his family and resumed his career as a film studio publicist, working on campaigns for such notable movies as The Man with the Golden Arm and Psycho. He died in 1993 at age 78. 

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