Story About Ham Radio Reuniting Old Friends, Veterans of Devil's Brigade

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by NW7US, Apr 15, 2018.

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  1. NW7US

    NW7US Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    In the 1990s while living in eastern Montana, I had the amazing experience of reuniting two soldiers. One was from Canada, one from the United States of American, and, both were amateur radio operators. Both served in the Devil's Brigade.



    The 1st Special Service Force (also called The Devil's Brigade, The Black Devils, The Black Devils' Brigade, and Freddie's Freighters), was an elite American-Canadian commando unit in World War II, under command of the United States Fifth Army. The unit was organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. The Force served in the Aleutian Islands, and fought in Italy, and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944.

    The modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit. In 2013, the United States Congress passed a bill to award the 1st Special Service Force the Congressional Gold Medal.

    One day, I was operating on the amateur radio shortwave Ten-Meter band, and a gentleman answered my, “CQ, CQ, CQ, this is N7PMS in Montana, Over”. I took notes of our conversation. (At that time, my call sign was N7PMS).

    The next day, when again I called for any station to answer my call for a conversation, another fellow, from Canada, answered me. Listen to the story, in this Vlog video.

    This certainly was one of the most memorable moments in my amateur radio hobby experience! The joy of reuniting friends is good.

    Do you have a memorable moment in your radio hobby experience on the air?

    Thank you for watching, and sharing. Comments are welcome:

    73 de NW7US
    W6ERM likes this.
  2. N6RGR

    N6RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very cool. My father met some of the soldiers from the 1st Special Service Force while his tank company supported their brigade in Italy. The 5th Army was known as a multi-national army and included Canadians, Brazilians, South Africans, British and American troops.

    Roger N6RGR
    K2MOB and NW7US like this.
  3. NW7US

    NW7US Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you want to skip the three-minute context-setting pre-story oratory, click here to jump to the 3:22 time point in the video:
    VE3VTG likes this.
  4. NW7US

    NW7US Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the comment, Roger. It was quite an honor to bring these two friends back in touch, before they became silent keys.

    K2MOB likes this.
  5. W8DOL

    W8DOL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful post and video. I'm a retired member of the 1st Special Forces Regiment, the successor organization of the 1st Special Service Force. Those men were incredible soldiers and patriots. What they did was no less than miraculous. In my 20 years of active duty service in The Regiment, we were all very aware that we were standing on the shoulders of giants. De Oppresso Liber!
    K2MOB and NW7US like this.
  6. K2MOB

    K2MOB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not many Forcemen left, my Dad was with the Headquarters Detachment of the 1st SSF...
  7. VE2AIU

    VE2AIU Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. W5JCK

    W5JCK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most of the soldiers of WWII have now passed away. My dad and all my uncles served during the war in various branches and theaters and they are all gone now. A large percentage of the dads of my Babyboomer classmates in school were WWII veterans as well. There were over 16 million men and women in the US military during the war. My dad's generation rarely talked about the war, certainly rarely bragged about their actions. I wished the current crop of vets and active duty would do the same. I resist the current trend to call anyone who ever wore a uniform a hero. That really cheapens the honor earned by the true heroes. But they were all really special and fought in a time when the US didn't have a powerhouse military. At the start of the European portion of the war the US Army was ranked only 17 or 18 on the list of most powerful, and there were only a few tens of thousands of soldiers in the Army and most were poorly trained. The US had to play catch up in a huge way. They did thanks to the men and women who served in the military and the men and women who stayed behind to run the factories and war effort. We came out of WWII a superpower, but we must never forget the horrible slugfest those WWII guys fought in theaters of action all around the globe. They had little if any tactical advantage at the beginning of the war. Today we ensure our military is the best prepared and equipped, but back then, well not so much in the 1930s. When my dad went to the Southwest Pacific theater in 1942, he didn't return home until 1946. So many of the soldiers never got to come back home until after the war. Too many never came home. Three or more years of near constant battles is a lot. They did not have the luxury of sleeping in nice warm beds, Skyping with the spouses, eating a nice breakfast, taking a hot shower, then helicoptering into a battle zone for a few hours before returning to a nice base to repeat the same process the next day. Those guys were living in the jungles and wherever they were fighting, sleeping in foxholes, enduring the elements, the crappy canned food, lack of breaks, the enemy, etc., and for years at a time. They were pretty special. It bothers me a lot that the current crop of kids have little idea of what they went through and little knowledge of the history of WWII.
    KP4JM and W4OSS like this.
  9. KD6LOQ

    KD6LOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's very cool on so many levels! Thanks for sharing that story.
    73 de KD6LOQ- Chris
  10. PP8DA

    PP8DA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    very nice history, congratulations

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