First Special Service Force Medal – Task Force Howze

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Description

“HAUL ASS AND BYPASS”
Text of Medallion:
TASK FORCE HOWZE
FIRST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE
FIRST ARMORED DIVISION
463RD PARACHUTE FIELD ARTILLERY
ITALIAN RESISTANCE GROUPS

“On June 3, 1944 The United States –Canadian First Special Service Force (FSSF) commanded by Brigadier General Robert R. Frederick led Armed Forces of Mark Clark’s Fifth Army, a part of Field Marshal Harold Alexander’s Fifteenth Army Group in the attack to liberate the Eternal City.
In this action, Task Force Howze (commanded by Colonel Hamilton Howze) of the 1at Armored Division, the 463rd Parachute Field Artillery, and city units of the Italian Resistance gave valiant support as we breached the gates of Rome and secured the Tiber Bridges.
To our brothers in arms of all nations who died in battles of the Italian Campaign we dedicate this memorial.
First Special Service Force Association, June 4, 1984.”

Note: FSSF troops were mounted in eight armored cars of the 81st Armored Reconnaissance Battalion of Howze’s Task Force with orders to “haul ass and bypass” any German units they encountered in their race to get to Rome first, ahead of any other Allied military units. Most military historians believe that Clark’s drive to have his units be the first to enter Rome was driven more by ego and desire for publicity than military necessity. Clark was ultimately frustrated that the dramatic entry of FSSF soldiers being the first to enter Rome’s gates on June 4, 1944 was over shadowed by the even more world shaking events of the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Frederick’s FSSF orders to capture six critical bridges over the Tiber River intact was negated by the German decision to not demolish them in the face of the advancing Allied armies.