Groundbreaking Female CIA Agent Remembered for Her Extraordinary Service

Doris Bohrer, a former CIA agent died this past August at the age of 93 in Greensboro, North Carolina. She spent 27 years working at what was then known as the Office of Strategic Services, a World War II intelligence agency which eventually evolved into the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bohrer, who was then Doris Sharrar, took the Civil Service exam in 1942 and was offered a job as a clerical worker at the O.S.S. headquarters where she typed up intelligence reports. She was chosen to attend a reconnaissance school after a year with the agency and posted to Egypt. Her duties included creating relief maps of Sicily made from balsa-wood to assist the Allies in their invasion of Italy.

Her next assignment was on the Adriatic coast in Bari working with the 15th Air Force where she helped gather intelligence on the movement of the German military. Sharrar also helped choose where O.S.S. agents would be dropped behind enemy lines based on her studies of aerial photographs. “That’s how we knew where the concentration camps were located, but we were too late. We kept wondering where the trains were going,” Sharrar said in a 2011 interview with the Washington Post.

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After the war, Sharrar married Charles Bohrer and continued working for the agency which was succeeded by the CIA in 1947. She moved to Frankfurt where she was responsible for writing intelligence reports about German scientists who the Soviet Union had detained. When she finally returned to the United States she was appointed deputy chief of counterintelligence in Washington where she trained staff on East German and Soviet intelligence services.

Mrs. Bohrer, retired from the CIA in the 1970’s and sold real estate and her husband Charles became director of the CIA’s office of medical services.

“She was ahead of her time and did what was necessary, as all the Greatest Generation did when called to service,” said Bohrer’s son Jason.