Special forces eager to honour famed unit

Polar Bear

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http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=be332e59-4b71-4180-a425-6eee714bff56

Special forces eager to honour famed unit
Group wants to take on lineage of Second World War outfit
David PuglieseThe Ottawa Citizen

Monday, April 23, 2007


Canada's special forces command wants to honour the famed Devil's Brigade by accepting the Second World War unit's battle honours and lineage, hopefully in time for a reunion of veterans this summer in Ottawa.
Col. David Barr, commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said his group is keen to formally take on the lineage and battle honours from the Devil's Brigade.
The brigade, known as the First Special Service Force, was a joint U.S.-Canadian unit that fought with distinction during the Second World War, earning itself a reputation as a hardened and professional fighting formation.
Veterans of the service force also want to pass on the lineage and battle honours to Col. Barr's command and discussions have been ongoing for several years. Some inside the Defence Department, however, have questioned whether that can be done since the First Special Service Force was not entirely a Canadian unit.
But Col. Barr said he is hopeful that some kind of compromise can be reached.
"As we transform the Forces, surely we can transform our processes associated with battle honours and lineage," he said. "The First Special Service Force wants to pass it on. I believe the minister's office sees great value in that lineage being passed on and we want to receive the lineage. So surely there's got to be a way to do it."
Col. Barr said he doubts the process would be entirely completed when the First Special Service Force Association holds its reunion in August, but he would like to be in a position to confidently tell the veterans that the lineage would be passed to his command.
The command, known in the military by its acronym, CANSOFCOM, includes Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, the 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron and the Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence Co.
The special operations command is also dealing with a proposal from the government to change the name of JTF2 and the other units.
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor is looking at renaming the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 and the special operations regiment in Petawawa as a way of honouring the Devil's Brigade. Mr. O'Connor's plan would see JTF2 and the special operations regiment referred to as the 1st and 2nd battalions of the First Special Service Regiment.
But the name change is widely opposed in JTF2 and among members of special operations command who argue that the existing unit names are well known among allies. JTF2 members also argue that they have worked hard over the last 14 years to establish the reputation of their unit and it doesn't make sense to change the name now.
Col. Barr said the issue is being worked on. "We hope to find a way to embrace the lineage and symbols, and potentially the battle honours, in a way that will not require a name change to the units who are quite rightly proud of their names and are conducting combat operations under those names," he said.
It is not the first time a name change for JTF2, established in 1993, has been considered.
The military looked into renaming JTF2 in 2002 after Liberal MP David Pratt suggested the special forces unit be called something more descriptive. The name Joint Task Force 2, he said, was confusing to some parliamentarians as it gave little indication that the unit was a special forces organization.
To add to the confusion, the Canadian military has a tendency to dub various organizations as a "joint task force" even though they are unrelated to the elite unit.
Mr. Pratt, then chairman of the Commons defence committee, wrote Liberal defence minister John McCallum with the suggestion that JTF2 be called the Canadian Special Service Force or the Second Special Service Force. The names were in reference to the First Special Service Force of the Second World War.
Mr. McCallum rejected the special service force label since it was too closely linked to the U.S., but he did order a review of the JTF2 name. A decision, however, was later made to stick to the status quo after JTF2's soldiers voted overwhelmingly to keep their original name.
JTF2 also reflects the joint aspect of the unit since its ranks are open to service from members of the army, air force and navy, a military spokes-man said at the time.
 

RackMaster

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This came around in an email at work. I've heard rumblings for a while. Has any Unit's or Commands assumed any of the Devil's Brigade battle honours down there? If so, then it would only seem fitting to have a brotherly bond of sorts made and to share the honours.
 

0699

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This came around in an email at work. I've heard rumblings for a while. Has any Unit's or Commands assumed any of the Devil's Brigade battle honours down there? If so, then it would only seem fitting to have a brotherly bond of sorts made and to share the honours.

Totally not my lane, but don't the US Army SF Groups trace their lineage back the the FSSF?
 

Gypsy

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Totally not my lane, but don't the US Army SF Groups trace their lineage back the the FSSF?

Yes, from what I understand each SF Group celebrates their history 5 December. That was the date the original Devil's Brigade was stood down in Menton.

(Just read this in a book not long ago... The Brigade was created to take part in the airborne raid into Norway but that op was cancelled)

Perhaps x-SF can correct me...or comment further.
 
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