Last Ballot for the Brave

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, some 240,329 remained alive in 2021. Hundreds die every day. This year’s midterm elections could be the last time many of them get to vote. That includes some of the best fighters, who never got the recognition they deserved. 

The First Special Service Force (FSSF) was an elite American-Canadian unit established to handle dangerous missions behind enemy lines. At Fort Harrison in Montana, they trained in stealth combat, parachuting, night missions, and winter warfare in mountainous conditions. Their first major campaign proved a perfect match for the training. 

In the fall of 1943, the Allies had been unable to break through the Germans’ line of fortifications south of Rome. Nazi forces held the high ground on the strategic Monte la Difensa and blocked routes to the summit. The FSSF took the hard way up. 

In the cold, wet conditions in early December 1943, FSSF forces hiked 10 miles to the mountain and the heavily laden troops scaled a 300-foot cliff without alerting German sentries. In a fierce battle, the FSSR swept the entrenched, better-equipped Germans from the summit. 

In the Italian mountains, the FSSF took the fight to the enemy. By the middle of January 1944, the Allied advance could proceed north. The FSSF fought at Anzio, a rehearsal for D-Day, and took part in the liberation of Rome. In southern France, the FSSF conducted daring night raids behind German lines. The FSSF fighters left stickers on enemy gear reading, “the worst is yet to come,” and it was. 

All told, the Force played a major role in taking down Hitler’s National Socialist regime. In 2018, a full 75 years after Monte la Difensa, 72 FSSF soldiers were still alive. Those who remain today would surely find the current scene confusing. 

America’s major adversary is now Communist China, but White House occupant Joe Biden says the Chinese are “not bad folks” and not even competition for the United States. Biden, who has no military background, seems more disturbed by “domestic enemies,” who turn out to be any American less than worshipful of Joe Biden. On Biden’s watch, American parents get branded as potential “domestic terrorists” for opposing racist propaganda in schools. 

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appointed himself commander-in-chief and likened President Donald Trump to Hitler and Trump supporters to brownshirts. No Joint Chiefs boss had ever done anything like that and Americans might wonder what the men of the FSSF would make of it. Some of them, and their descendants, could possibly have voted for Donald Trump in 2016. 

Milley also hinted that he would tip off China in the event of an American attack. Like Biden, he must believe that the leaders of a genocidal Stalinist slave state are not such bad folks. If the FSSF veterans thought that was treasonous it would be hard to blame them. Maybe some of them didn’t like President Roosevelt, but no FSSF commander ever tipped off the Nazis about any Allied attacks. 

Back in 2013, Milley said “conditions are set” to win the war in Afghanistan. They weren’t and last year Milley presided over Biden’s disastrous surrender and withdrawal, leaving tens of millions of dollars’ worth in military gear behind. Call it white flag supremacy, Biden’s basic strategy. 

In 2022, conditions are set for losing any war the United States might encounter. General Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin are now purging the ranks of patriots and firing officers such as Lt. Colonel Matthew Lohmeier of the Space Force, for the crime of writing a book. 

In 2022, the U.S. military is not the best it can be, and as George Will has pointed out, that is like playing poker with the second-best hand. You have two choices: bluff or fold. If the Chinese, who just signed a deal with Cuba, planned an attack on the United States, they probably would not tip off General Milley or Joe Biden. 

Americans are living in the nation fundamentally transformed by the composite character David Garrow described in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. He freed five Taliban leaders in exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl, which was rather like trading Private Slovik for the German high command. This was all part of the composite character’s strategy of “leading from behind.” 

The White House is now occupied, as Conrad Black explains, by a “wax-works effigy of a president.” For Roger Kimball, Biden is an “angry, incompetent and increasingly senile puppet,” of the deep state. For all but the willfully blind, neither description is a stretch. 

Joe Biden is a pasty faced poltroon, incapable of leadership and unable to execute national office. FSSF vets might wonder who is really in charge, and that raises an issue. 

World War II vets were known for bravery and also for colorful language. By some accounts, for example, Situation Normal, all Fucked Up (SNAFU) originated with the U.S. military in 1941. That is now euphemized as “fouled up” and in similar style, chants of “Fuck Joe Biden” get reported as “let’s go Brandon.” The men of the FSSF would not be fooled. 

If they donned T-shirts reading: WORLD WAR II, IF YOU WEREN’T THERE, SHUT THE FUCK UP, it would be hard to blame them. They earned the right to wear it at Monte la Difensa, Anzio, and behind enemy lines. They fought on the beaches and on the landing grounds. They fought in the fields and in the hills, and they never surrendered. 

These brave men played a major role in taking down the National Socialist regime that menaced the world. Check out the exhibit on the First Special Services Force at the Montana Military Museum, and thank them for their service.

Some FSSF men might cast votes this year, but by 2024 few World War II vets from any of the services are likely to remain. The people in power today are not worthy to carry their shoes. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: The Congressional Gold Medal was presented to all the members of The First Special Service Force, February 3, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Harnik via Getty Images)