As authorized under Public Law 113-16, the Congressional Gold Medal will be collectively awarded to the First Special Service Force in recognition of its superior service during World War II.
Also known as the “Devil’s Brigade,” this elite joint American-Canadian commando unit fought battles at high altitudes, in rugged terrain, and in severe weather. During 251 days of combat, the unit captured thousands of prisoners, won five United States campaign stars and eight Canadian battle honors, and never failed a mission. The Force would suffer 2,314 casualties or 134% of its authorized strength while fighting to repel Nazi Germany and liberating numerous communities in France and Italy. The modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit.
In 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint honored the First Special Service Force with the issuance of a limited mintage fine silver coin.
The Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded on behalf of the United States Congress is required to be produced by the Secretary of the Treasury with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions to be determined by the Secretary. The United States Mint recently provided 18 different obverse and 21 different reverse design candidates for the medal to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for review and recommendation.
From the provided candidates, the CCAC recommended obverse design FSSF-CGM-O-9, which received 18 out of a possible 24 points through the Committee’s scoring process. This design was also among the preferences of the First Special Service Force Association. Committee members commented that the design was modern in appearance, provided a visually interesting image, and would create a very attractive obverse for the medal.
For the reverse, the CCAC strongly recommended design FSSF-CGM-R-02 by collectively assigning the highest possible score of 24 points through the scoring process. This design was also the First Special Service Force Association’s first preference for the reverse of the medal. Committee members noted that the imagery of the design included many elements that are important to the Association.
The design candidates will also be reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts, who will provide their recommendations. The authority to select the final designs rests with the Secretary of the Treasury.
Images of all of the obverse and reverse design candidates prepared by the United States Mint appear following.
Obverse Design Candidates
Reverse Design Candidates