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Menton day Celebrated at JBLM

Joint Base Lewis-McChord members and others in attendance remember soldiers in the First Special Service Force

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"They undertook extensive courses in raider and commando tactics, received intense training as paratroopers, ski troops, mountain fighters, demolition experts, amphibious forces and hand-to-hand combat experts."

The words of Col. Robert McDowell rang loud during the wreath laying ceremony that commemorated Menton Day and the inactivation of the combined U.S. and Canadian First Special Service Force on Dec. 5, 1944. The event, held at Joint Base Lewis McChord this past week, paid respect to the brigade that was one of the first Special Forces units activated and is credited with a distinguished record of unconventional operations behind enemy lines.

These men were known as The Black Devils because of their ferocious nighttime fighting. Later, they would become the tip-of-the-spear for commando actions.

"The Black Devils symbolize what every soldier assigned to a Special Forces unit strives to replicate, because the type of soldier who joins our rank is not one who accepts mediocrity, he wants to be the very best," McDowell said in his speech. "The Black Devils were the best."

Although there were no representatives from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment present during this year's Menton events, they made a significant contribution during WWII and helped lay the foundation for Special Operations.

"We stand proud amongst heroes and families that have continued to define what it means to be our nation's best and execute the missions that only a select group of Warriors are able to do," McDowell said. "I hope our nation never forgets the sacrifices that have been made, and are being made today to keep our nation and many others free.

Those who were in attendance to celebrate Menton Day remembered the pioneers who helped preserve freedom and embrace the United State's military mission to execute missions that only a select group of warriors were able to do.

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