Local veteran part of ‘Devil’s Bridge’ receiving Congressional Gold Medal

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Bill Rachui, 92, was a member of the famed "Devil's Brigade" during World War II. (Bruce Chapman/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The notice was posted. The government was recruiting soldiers for a new unit — the First Special Service Force, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

William “Bill” Rachui, a farm boy from Texas serving in the cavalry during World War II, was always looking for a new adventure, so he signed up.

He had no idea that the unit’s war exploits would lead German opponents to call the soldiers the “Black Devils” or the “Devil’s Brigade,” or that Hollywood would one day make a movie about them.

That elite unit of American and Canadian soldiers was a forerunner to modern-day special operations forces.

On Tuesday, Rachui will join other surviving members of the unit in Washington, D.C. The First Special Service Force will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by the U.S. Congress.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal