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Dan
08-15-2005, 15:36
RELEASE NUMBER: 050814-01
DATE POSTED: AUGUST 15, 2005

Press Release: USASOC commander awards Combat Infantryman Badges to World War II veterans
By Sgt. Joe Healy
U.S. Army Special Operations Command

CALGARY, Alberta (USASOC News Service, Aug. 12, 2005) — Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr., commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command awarded approximately 100 Combat Infantryman Badges to Canadian and American World War II veterans assigned to the First Special Service Force during a formal awards ceremony here Aug. 12.

The FSSF was 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. Its members, retired and now in their eighties and nineties, celebrated their 59th annual reunion Aug. 12-14. The CIB awards ceremony culminated the two-day celebration.

“This is an award that is long overdue for these men,” Kensinger said. “There effort was a great, and they are great heroes. The First Special Service Force is the original Special Forces unit.”

“I waited nearly sixty years!” exclaimed 82-year-old Delbert Stonehouse, a Canadian FSSF veteran. “I am thrilled to receive the award.”

The CIB was established by the War Department on Oct. 27, 1943. The award was designed to enhance morale and the prestige of the "Queen of Battle." Then Secretary of War Henry Stinson said, "It is high time we recognize in a personal way the skill and heroism of the American infantry."

FSSF Canadian veterans are now eligible to receive the award.

“This is a very special day for the FSSF,” said Lt. Gen. Marc Caron, Chief of Land Staff Canada. “They are delighted, and we want to thank the Army Chief of Staff [Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker] for approving the awards.”

Caron noted that the FSSF veterans and modern-day Canadian and U.S. Special Forces still share a “never give up” attitude.

Kensinger urged the FSSF veterans to record their World War II memories.

“There are many stories that our young Soldiers need to learn about the veterans gathered here,” Kensinger said. “It is my hope that the lessons you learned will be passed on.”

The FSSF veterans will gather together next year for its 60th annual reunion in Helana, Mont., the same location the unit trained before heading off to combat. The 60th reunion is scheduled to be the last official gathering.

-usasoc-

Dan
08-15-2005, 15:36
Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr., commander, U.S. Army Special Operations command awards the Combat Infantryman Badge to World War II Canadian veteran Sam Eros during the First Special Service Force 59th annual reunion awards dinner Aug. 13 held in Calgary, Alberta. The FSSF was a one-of-a-kind unit comprised of both Americans and Canadians that fought side-by-side in the Aleutians, France an Italy during World War II. Kensinger awarded 100 CIBs to both Canadian and American veterans. (Army photo by Sgt. Joe Healy, USASOC Public Affairs)

Dan
08-15-2005, 15:45
Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr. (far right), commander, U.S. Army Special Operations command awards the Combat Infantryman Badge to World War II Canadian veteran Doug Stonehouse during the First Special Service Force 59th annual reunion awards dinner Aug. 13 held in Calgary, Alberta. The FSSF was a one-of-a-kind unit comprised of both Americans and Canadians that fought side-by-side in the Aleutians, France an Italy during World War II. Kensinger awarded 100 CIBs to both Canadian and American veterans. (Army photo by Sgt. Joe Healy, USASOC Public Affairs)

Dan
08-15-2005, 15:47
Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr., commander, U.S. Army Special Operations command awards the Combat Infantryman Badge to World War II Canadian veteran Sam Eros during the First Special Service Force 59th annual reunion awards dinner Aug. 13 held in Calgary, Alberta. The FSSF was a one-of-a-kind unit comprised of both Americans and Canadians that fought side-by-side in the Aleutians, France an Italy during World War II. Kensinger awarded 100 CIBs to both Canadian and American veterans. (Army photo by Sgt. Joe Healy, USASOC Public Affairs)

Doc
08-15-2005, 16:05
Did anyone else notice that those men still looked like they were in pretty good shape to be in their 80's?

Legends, all of them. Thanks for leading the way!

DOL

Doc

Radar Rider
08-15-2005, 16:49
That is great to see those heroic men be awarded for their work. Heroes, all.

Trip_Wire (RIP)
08-16-2005, 03:05
I'm VERY glad to see those great Canadian soldiers get this well deserved award of the CIB. (As well as any American members of the FSSF who didn't get the award.

One of the things that I always look forward to on Menton Day is the members of the FSSF who attend the ceremony each year! The last few times, I have had the pleasure of having members seated at my table. Sadly they are passing at a rapid rate, like most WW II Veterans.

The Devils' Brigade — Black Devils

ender
08-16-2005, 10:18
A few of my friends had the chance to go down to Calgary for the festivities. Awesome time had by all.

Bill Harsey
08-16-2005, 19:50
Dan,
Thanks again for providing real news.

Congratulations to all those men.