WASHINGTON, DC: Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today announced that he has cosponsored H.R. 3767, the “First Special Service Force Congressional Gold Medal Act.” The bill would require the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate to award the members of the Congressional Gold Medal to the First Special Service Force (FSSF) in recognition of their WWII service.
“The FSSF was a top secret combat unit composed of both U.S. and Canadian volunteers,” said Dr. Benishek, the father of an Afghanistan war veteran. “This secretive unit was unique in that they were average people – lumberjacks, forest rangers, hunters and blue collar workers – who came together to do extraordinary things.”
The unit was comprised of 1,800 volunteers from throughout the United States and Canada. Their training was the first of its kind, combining high alpine combat, covert amphibious landings, parachuting, demolitions and other unconventional tactics into a highly effective stealth repertoire.
The FSSF conducted high risk military missions and surprise attacks in the Aleutian Islands, Italy and southern France. Once sent into action, the FSSF never failed to complete a combat mission. Of the 1,800 volunteers, approximately 20 were residents of Northern Michigan. Today, 230 of these individuals are still alive.
“The FSSF’s 66th reunion will be held in Washington, D.C. in September. This bill brings them one step closer to being honored for their service,” added Dr. Benishek.