First Special Service Force Bronze Medal
- Year of Issue: 2015
- Authorizing Legislation: Public Law 113-16
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This medal is a bronze duplicate of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the First Special Service Force in recognition of their superior service during World War II. Congress authorized the medal on July 12, 2013. It was presented to the group on February 3, 2015. The Mint issued the bronze medal duplicates in 3.0 inch and 1.5 inch sizes.
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.
The obverse 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 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." It's inscribed with the group's five campaigns.
- FIRST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE
- SOUTHERN FRANCE
- ACT OF CONGRESS
Mint and Mint Mark
- Composition 1.5 inch medal: 95% copper, 5% zinc
- Composition 3.0 inch medal: 90% copper, 10% zinc
- Finish: matte
- Edge: plain
- No mint mark
- Sculptor: Joseph Menna, Medallic Artist
- Designer: Joel Iskowitz
- Sculptor: Don Everhart, Medallic Artist
- Designer: Richard Masters, Artistic Infusion Program