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Archived - Minister of Veterans Affairs honours Canadian Veterans of the Devil's Brigade

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Devil’s Brigade Honoured with U.S. Congressional Gold Medal

February 3, 2015 – Washington, DC – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today represented the Government of Canada at an event 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.

Earlier today, Minister O’Toole met with the US 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.

While in Washington, Minister 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.

Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • In January, 2013, Minister Peter MacKay presented 13 Devil’s Brigade Veterans with the Minister’s Award for Operational Excellence.
  • 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 in Montana, U.S.A.
  • The legacy of the brigade lives on, as many modern American and Canadian Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit.
  • Arlington National Cemetery is a U.S. 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.
  • 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.


“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.”

The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

“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.”

The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

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