Devil’s Brigade battle legacy accepted by Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR)

By David Pugliese

The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, May 22, 2008



Commandos who established their reputations as hardened and legendary soldiers during the Second World War will be honoured by Canadian special forces by having their unit’s battle legacy transferred to a recently created regiment.


The Canadian Special Operations Regiment, or CSOR, has received approval to accept the battle honours from the Canadian section of the First Special Service Force, military officials say.


The First Special Service Force, better known as the Devil’s Brigade, was a joint U.S.-Canadian unit that fought with distinction during the Second World War. The unit established its reputation during fighting to liberate Italy, but also took part in operations in Alaska and France.


A special event will be held at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in late June to honour the veterans, CSOR officers said.


“This is great for our outfit,” said Charlie Mann, a Devil’s Brigade veteran who is director emeritus and the Canadian military liaison officer for the First Special Service Force Association. “I feel that CSOR is probably the closest thing to the original force since the war. They function very similar to the way we used to function.”


Two directives issued earlier this year designate CSOR, at CFB Petawawa, and the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 as honour-bearing units.


That will allow them to receive battle honours.


CSOR commander Lt.-Col. Jamie Hammond says the regiment is working on getting its own regimental colours. “On that flag, we will put any battle honours we get and we’ll also perpetuate the honours of the First Special Service Force,” he said.


Lt.-Col. Hammond said it would take about another year for CSOR’s colours to be designed and approved by Government House.


In the meantime, however, Lt.-Col. Hammond said he wanted to have a ceremony to mark the acceptance of the First Special Service Force’s battle honours.


“We’re hoping to have a small colour party of the vets march on to our change-of-command parade and hand their First Special Service Force flag over to us as a symbol of us carrying on their legacy,” he said.


Efforts to transfer the battle honours have been ongoing for several years, said Mr. Mann, a resident of Kincardine, Ont.


At first, he said, JTF2 wanted to accept the honours.


“But JTF2 is not a regiment, so they couldn’t accept our battle honours,” Mr. Mann said. “Then along came CSOR, and CSOR is a regiment and very similar to the Special Service Force.”


Mr. Mann said it was estimated that a little more than 300 Canadian and U.S. members of the First Special Service Force were still alive.


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