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94 Year Illinois Veteran Receives Congressional Gold Medal

A Mercer County veteran honored in Washington D.C. this week. 94 year old Casimer "Casey" Celske of Aledo received the Congressional Gold Medal. He was a member of the First Special Service Force in World War II. The force was an elite unit that played a critical role in the liberation of Europe during the war. German opposition referred to the group as the "Devil's Brigade." U.S. Senator Dick Durbin spoke at the ceremony.....


The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation's highest civilian award given to individuals who perform an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States. The First Special Service Force (FSSF) were all volunteers and took on the most dangerous missions, often operating under the cover of darkness. Military special forces units such as the Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Marines' Force Recon units, and Canadian Special Operations Regiment can all be traced back to the FSSF. The Congressional Gold Medal is considered the Congressional equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Legislation bestowing the Congressional Gold Medal to a recipient must be co-sponsored by two thirds of the membership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before their respective committees will consider it.

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