'Devil's Brigade,' First Special Service Force, gets congressional gold medal Feb. 3

U.S., Canadian soldiers honored for World War II heroics in Europe
By , Coin World
Published : 01/16/15
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The leadership of the U.S. House and Senate will present a congressional gold medal Feb. 3 in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center in recognition of members of the First Special Service Force whose fearlessness and bravery contributed to the liberation of Europe and end to World War II.

Taking part in the bipartisan, bicameral ceremony at 3 p.m. Eastern Time will be House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The congressional gold medal is authorized under Public Law 113-16.

The First Special Service Force, dubbed the “Devil’s Brigade” by the German opposition, was a special operations unit formed in July 1942 and comprised 1,800 soldiers from the United States and Canada. It was the only unit formed in WWII with troops from the U.S. and Canada – building on the special bond between the two countries. The unit was instrumental in targeting military and industrial installations.

The congressional gold medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow. Pursuant to H.R. 324, a single gold medal was struck to honor the First Special Service Force's distinguished service.

For more information on how a congressional gold medal is struck, watch the behind-the-scenes video accompanying this article showing production of the 9/11 Fallen Heroes medals and featuring Speaker Boehner, along with Matthew Wasniewski, historian of the U.S. House, and Richard Peterson, deputy director of the U.S. Mint.  

The Feb. 3 ceremony will be live streamed here.

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