First Special Service Force Bronze Medal

Medals

Background

The Honorees

The First Special Service Force (the “Force”) was a highly trained group of volunteers from the United States and Canada that was activated in July 1942. Its mission was to target military and industrial installations that supported the German war effort. It was the only joint American-Canadian unit formed during World War II.

Following rigorous training in hazardous, arctic conditions, the elite joint force was deployed to Italy in October 1943, where its members engaged in combat in high altitudes, rugged terrain, and severe weather.

The Force was instrumental in repelling the advance of Nazi Germany and liberating numerous communities in France and Italy. After the Allied forces secured the Franco-Italian border, the unit was disbanded December 5, 1944.

During 251 days of combat, the Force suffered 2,314 casualties, or 134 percent of its authorized strength, captured thousands of prisoners, earned five United States campaign stars and eight Canadian battle honors, and never failed a mission.

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Characteristics

The obverse (heads side) highlights the First Special Service Force's mountaineering, silent landings, and waterway training abilities. The design incorporates the group's spearhead patch, representing the unique partnership between the United States and Canada.

The reverse (tails side) features the First Special Service Force's insignia, with crossed arrows at the bottom of the design, and a banner in the eagle's beak that reads "USA" and "Canada."

Obverse Inscriptions

  • FIRST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE

Reverse Inscriptions

  •  ALEUTIANS
  • NAPLES-FOGGIA
  • ROME-ARNO
  • SOUTHERN FRANCE
  • RHINELAND
  • ACT OF CONGRESS
  • 2013

Mint and Mint Mark

Artist Information

Obverse
  • Sculptor: Joseph Menna, Sculptor-Engraver
  • Designer: Joel Iskowitz
Reverse
  • Sculptor: Don Everhart, Sculptor-Engraver
  • Designer: Richard Masters, Artistic Infusion Program
Content last reviewed June 1, 2016

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