CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has put a statement in the Congressional Record and written a letter to President Obama asking that a presidential commendation be given to World War II veteran Frederick Mayer, a Charles Town resident.Now 92, Mayer was born to a Jewish family in Germany and fled to the United States after the Nazis seized power, according to Rockefeller.After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mayer enlisted in the Army and was recruited to join the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor the Central Intelligence Agency.
Mayer was assigned to pose as a German officer in Austria, collect intelligence and help organize elements of the Austrian resistance. Despite getting captured and tortured by the Gestapo, Mayer helped negotiate the surrender of Innsbruck in 1945, avoiding a final battle that could have cost countless lives, according to Rockefeller's statement.The senator called Mayer "one of the unsung heroes of World War II."His selfless patriotism and unique service to the United States merit the highest recognition, and I hope your staff will give him all due consideration for an award of presidential commendation," Rockefeller wrote to Obama. "His bravery, remarkable in any context, is even more noteworthy given his willingness to return to enemy territory, not far from his childhood home he was forced to flee."