On February 3 the Minister of Veterans Affairs Erin O’Toole represented the Government of Canada at an event in Washington, DC honouring Canadian Veterans of the 1st Special Service Force (FSSF), more famously known as the Devil’s Brigade.
In recognition of its superior service during the Second World War, the Devil’s Brigade was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal by U.S. Speaker of the House, John Boehner.
“Today’s presentation of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal to Canadian Veterans of the Devil’s Brigade is a fitting honour in recognition of their courageous service and sacrifice. The impact these remarkable men made during the Second World War has been felt around the world and will never be forgotten,” said O’Toole.
Fourteen Canadian Veterans attended the ceremony, which took place 71 years after the Devil’s Brigade joined the Allied offensive in Anzio, Italy. It was during this battle that the unit was first given their famous nickname.
Activated on July 9, 1942, as three small regiments and a service battalion, the Devil’s Brigade was a joint Second World War American-Canadian commando unit trained at Fort William Henry Harrison, Montana in the United States.
The legacy of the brigade lives on, as many modern American and Canadian Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit.
Earlier in the day, Minister O’Toole met with the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald and the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz to discuss mental health and career transition supports for veterans.
“I was pleased to meet with Secretary McDonald and Assistant Secretary Schwartz to discuss the mental health and career transition challenges faced by Veterans. To facilitate a successful transition to civilian life it is important that those who have served have access to meaningful employment and mental health supports,” said O’Toole.
While in Washington O’Toole also visited Arlington National Cemetery where he lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and paid tribute to American Veterans who served with the Canadian Armed Forces at the Canadian Cross of Sacrifice.
The Canadian Cross of Sacrifice in Arlington National Cemetery was a gift from the Government of Canada. It stands in memory of American citizens who served with the Canadian Armed Forces and sacrificed their lives during the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War.
Arlington National Cemetery is an American military cemetery located in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. More than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families are buried there.
Get More! Receive six issues of Canadian Military Family Magazine in your mail box for only $17.95! Click here to subscribe NOW!