By Morgan Bryce

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and First United Methodist Church’s Associate Pastor Patrick Hitchman-Craig honored World War II hero Orrin “Boody” Brown with a proclamation celebrating his 100th birthday today.

Fuller shared a photo on his personal Facebook page Friday of he and Hitchman-Craig delivering the proclamation, which includes both of them practice proper social distancing from Brown and his daughter Barbara Jones.

“Happy Birthday Boody … and hope you feel the love from our community!” Fuller wrote in his post.

Brown, an Opelika native, served as a bombardier and member of the Office of Strategic Services, which engaged in acts of espionage behind enemy lines. He and other members of the 801st/492nd Bombardment Group (also known as “The Carpetbaggers”) flew in several notable missions, including Belgium and France on the eve of D-Day on June 5, 1944. None were as dangerous, however, as the one particular drop in Norway.

“The anti-air troops on the ground were not prepared for the first plane, but they were prepared for us. Our pilot took immediate evasive action and we ended up taking minor damage, but it could’ve been a lot worse,” Brown said. “That’s probably the most dangerous mission we flew.”

Brown and other OSS members were able to be recognized for their service following the passage of the “Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act” in December 2016.

In March 2018, he flew with Barbara to receive his gold medal in a ceremony held in Washington D.C. He received Norway’s Congressional Gold Medal last year for his service.