By STEPHANIE ZAK JEROME
Thank you for the trust you have placed in me this legislative session. It has been an honor serving as your State Representative. The Vermont House spent the 2019 session prioritizing bills that will help our families and communities thrive. We have focused our work on building a Vermont that works for all of us, not just a select few.
The session is coming to a close this week. On Tuesday, I will be part of a conference committee with three senators and three representatives to iron out the details of S.110 – data privacy legislation. I am honored to have been chosen for this important job of reaching consensus between the House and senate. I am looking forward to seeing how the bills which passed the House, such as paid family leave, minimum wage, broadband and childcare progress as they reach the governor’s desk.
I was pleased to have been able to introduce a resolution honoring the First Special Services Force, who trained at Fort Ethan Allen during World War II. I worked with Gene Childers, of Brandon, to facilitate this resolution. Gene’s father trained and fought with this brigade and, sadly, died in battle in Italy in 1942. You may be interested in reading about this amazing troupe of brave men!
House concurrent resolution commemorating the bravery of the Vermont- trained
First Special Service Force
Whereas, one of the most amazing stories of World War II is the incredible heroism of the Vermont-trained First Special Service Force that was established in July 1942, and
Whereas, this unusual binational force was composed of approximately 60 percent American and 40 percent Canadian volunteers, whose prior outdoor professional lives had proved their compatibility for extremely demanding military operations, and
Whereas, Fort William Henry Harrison, a National Guard post in Montana, was the Force’s original training facility, and
Whereas, in May 1943, the Force moved its training to Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester, and while based in Vermont, a stay that was interrupted by a brief deployment to the Aleutian Islands, the Force’s members took vigorous 50-mile hikes in the Green Mountains and completed rubber-raft training on Lake Champlain in preparation for duty in Europe, and
Whereas, having landed in Naples, Italy, 600 members of the Force, on December 2, 1943, ascended the extremely steep trail up Monte la Difensa, north of Naples and south of Rome, carrying 90-pound packs, and
Whereas, in the early hours of December 3, 1943, the Force, in a mere two hours, routed the Germans from this key mountaintop and supposedly impenetrable stronghold, and
Whereas, in the following weeks, the Force, having earned the Germans’ respect as the “Black Devils,” valiantly fought to secure other well-defended Italian mountaintops, proved critical early in 1944 at the Battle of Anzio, and was at the forefront of the Allies’ capture of Rome, and
Whereas, although deactivated in 1944, the Force won thousands of military decorations, a 2015 Congressional Gold Medal, and was the subject of books and the 1968 feature film The Devil’s Brigade, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly commemorates the bravery of the Vermont-trained First Special Service Force, and be it further
Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Eugene Childers of Brandon whose father, Espy Eugene Childers, perished in Italy as a First Special Service Force member, and to the First Special Service Force Association in Helena, Montana.
After the end of the session, I will create a report of the major accomplishments of the legislature this year. If you would like to receive a copy of the report, please email me. I will be publishing it in the Reporter as well on social media.
I have really enjoyed meeting with so many members of our community at the Brandon Free Library, Maclure Library and Sudbury Town Clerk’s Office. Thank you to all those who joined me and for our lively discussions about the issues at hand. I will continue to make myself available to you throughout the year. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-683-8209. I look forward to speaking with you about issues that are of concern to you.