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Dan
08-15-2005, 15:26
RELEASE NUMBER: 050813-01
DATE POSTED: AUGUST 15, 2005

PRESS RELEASE: First Special Service Force World War II veterans honor fallen comrades

By Sgt. Joe Healy
U.S. Army Special Operations Command

CALAGARY, Alberta (USASOC News Service, Aug. 12, 2005) — American and Canadian World War II Special Forces veterans honored their fallen brothers-in-arms for the last time here on Canadian soil during a joint memorial service Aug. 12 at the Museum of the Regiments.

Approximately 150 veterans of the First Special Service Force, a one-of-a-kind unit comprised of both Americans and Canadians that fought side-by-side in the Aleutians, France an Italy during the early 1940s, gathered together in front of approximately 300 family members, friends, and present-day Canadian Forces to pay their respects.

“I am proud to carry the American flag here,” said 82-year-old Bert Winzer. “It’s an honor to be with fellow Black Devils.”

Wearing dark-blue blazers, with the unit’s insignia (a red Indian arrowhead patch) sewn on their breast-pockets, the World War II veterans stayed warm in unusually cool summer temperatures, intermingling with present-day military, sharing stories.

Most FSSF veterans are now in their eighties and nineties, said Col. Steven Czepiga, a U.S. Army officer assigned to the Canadian Defense Attache. The unit is scheduled to hold its 60th and final reunion next year in Helana, Mont.

“As the remaining brave and their families from the unique Canadian and U.S. commando units, we are grateful for this opportunity to express our sorrow and our grief in the loss of our airborne buddies over the past year,” said Rev. Philip Costain, military chaplain, Prince Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

Dozens of civilians, media outlets and military personal recorded and recognized the men using cameras, video equipment, and cell phones.

Winzer, a Macungie, Penn., native, traveled over 2,000 miles for the weekend festivities.

“I spent 2 years, 9 months and 13 days serving with these folks,” Winzer recalled.

During the 45 minute ceremony, the names and hometowns of fallen FSSF veterans, those who passed away in the last year were called out. Names like Bryant, Mooney, Macomb and Price, and small towns from places such as North Carolina, Nova Scotia, New Mexico and Ontario were acknowledged.

After the Reading of the Names, a poem titled, “In Flanders Field,” was read by 12-year old Jessica Costain, followed by the playing of Last Post and Taps by the “Cappy Smart” Calgary Fire Department Band.

The ceremony concluded with a Moment of Silence and Benediction.

Dan
08-15-2005, 15:27
Col. Steven Czepiga, an officer assigned to the Canadian Defense attache, lays of wreath in memory of fallen World War II veterans of the First Special Service Force during a ceremony Aug. 12 at the Museum of the Regiments, Calgary, Canada. The FSSF was a joint U.S-Canadian unit that fought in the Aleutians, Italy and southern France. The unit's veterans are considered the forefathers of both today's U.S. and Canadian Special Forces units. (Photo by Sgt. Joe Healy, USASOC PAO)

Dan
08-15-2005, 15:27
World War II veterans of the First Special Service Force listen as the names of their fallen comrades are announced during a memorial ceremony Aug. 12 at the Museum of the Regiments, Calgary, Canada. The FSSF was a joint U.S-Canadian unit that fought in the Aleutians, Italy and southern France. The unit's veterans are considered the forefathers of both today's U.S. and Canadian Special Forces units. (Photo by Sgt. Joe Healy, USASOC PAO)

Dan
08-15-2005, 15:28
World War II veterans of the First Special Service Force salute as the American and Canadian flags and the unit's colors pass during Posting of the Colors section of a memorial ceremony Aug. 12 at the Museum of the Regiments, Calgary, Canada. The FSSF was a joint U.S-Canadian unit that fought in the Aleutians, Italy and southern France. The unit's veterans are considered the forefathers of both today's U.S. and Canadian Special Forces units. (Photo by Sgt. Joe Healy, USASOC PAO)