Hastings Veteran Receives Congressional Gold Medal

John Hankes of Hastings has received the Congressional Gold Medal. Hankes, 93, was in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to accept the nation’s highest honor for his service as a member of the First Special Service Force during World War II. The elite commando unit, nicknamed the “Devil’s Brigade” for the fear they instilled in the enemy, was instrumental in the liberation of Europe in the Second World War. 42 of the original 1800 man force attended the ceremony. Hankes thought it was great to receive the award and was happy to see the force be recognized, even after so many years. Hankes was one of five men from Hastings that served on the First Special Service Force.

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