A World War II Special Forces unit will be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, D.C., next month.
House Speaker John Boehner announced that the U.S.-Canadian 1st Special Service Force, known as the "Devil's Brigade," will be honored Feb. 3 in a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol's Emancipation Hall, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
The force, which operated mainly in Italy and southern France, was a unit similar to the Green Berets — the unit fought in the January 1944 amphibious landing at Anzio, through the siege of Monte Cassino, to the capture or Rome and the invasion of southern France, the Courier said.
Assembled in 1942 near Helena, Montana, the 1,800-man unit accounted for 12,000 German casualties and captured 7,000 prisoners, according to the force's association website.
More soldiers rotated through the unit because of the high attrition rate; members fought with such stealth and power that the Nazi's dubbed them the "schwarzer Teufel," or "Black Devils."
Ninety-year-old John Tedore, a veteran of the brigade, told the Courier that only 75 members are still living — 46 Americans, 29 Canadians and one Australian.
"You stop and think about that, in terms of being recognized, and basically the reason for that as the fact that we had so many guys killed and wounded," Tedore said of the award's announcement in 2013 before a date for the ceremony was made official.
"This is basically an honor to those guys. It sticks in my mind all the time," he said.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation's highest award for distinguished achievement. Past recipients have included the Tuskegee Airmen, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and, most recently, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
Force members also received recognition from the Canadian government in 2012.