Mount Pleasant man receives Congressional Gold Medal

William Story of Mount Pleasant arrives for the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the Capitol honoring members of the First Special Service Force on Tuesday. The force’s fearlessness and bravery contributed to the liberation of Europe and end to World War II.

William Story, 93, of Mount Pleasant, was one of several surviving members of an elite World War II fighting unit — the First Special Service Force — honored Tuesday in a special ceremony in Washington D.C.

The unit, known as the “Devil’s Brigade,” employed fierce tactics, used black boot polish on their faces and specialized in nighttime raids featuring mountain climbing, amphibious landings and parachute jumps. It was the precursor of modern special forces such as the Green Berets.

On Tuesday, Congress awarded the brigade’s surviving members the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest civilian award.

A crowd of about 700, including Story and about 40 living members of the brigade, attended the hour-long ceremony at the Capitol Visitors Center.

“It means a great deal,” Story said Wednesday, shortly after he returned. “It meant everything, and it came while 44 of us were still left. There was a great deal of satisfaction.”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.