The name “Tommy Prince” graces a school,
    a street and a road, two monuments, a recreation
    center, a barracks, a drill hall, two scholarships, and a
    cadet corps. And for good reason. Prince was one of the most decorated Indigenous soldiers to have served in the history of the Canadian Armed Forces. He was awarded 12 medals in all during his service in the Second World War and the Korean War. Among his many campaign medals are rare honors that recognize his bravery and heroism, namely the Military Medal and the U.S. Silver Star Medal. Prince earned both medals during the Second World War.

    Thomas George Prince was born in 1915 in Petersfield, Manitoba. A member of the Brokenhead Ojibwa Nation, an Anishiniaabe (Saulteaux/Ojibwa) First Nation, Prince enlisted early in the war. He joined the Royal Canadian Engineers in 1940 but soon transferred to the Canadian Parachute Battalion and was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Prince joined the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, which alongside a group of American paratroopers, formed the 1st Special Service Force (FSSF) that became known as the Devil’s Brigade for its fearsome reputation.

    Prince was especially skilled at night-time raids against the German lines. Prince received the Military Medal and Silver Star while serving as a member of the Devil’s Brigade for his actions during the fighting in Italy and France. In Italy, while holed up in a farm house monitoring the Germans, an explosion cut the phone line he was using to communicate with his regimental headquarters.
    Sgt. Tommy Prince in his First Special Service Force uniform c.a. 1943. His parachute wings can be seen on his beret and uniform, as well as his Sergeant Stripes. Image: Wikipedia commons. When the FSSF were transferred over to France, Prince’s determined and skilled heroics continued. Prince once walked 72 hours without food or water to report on the location of a German camp. Based on his information, the Allies captured 1,000 German soldiers.

    After the war, Prince started a cleaning business and worked as an advocate for Indigenous rights, lobbying the government to change the Indian Act. Neither his advocacy work nor his business succeeded. Prince, like all Indigenous veterans, discovered that the equality and respect he had earned and experienced in the war was not offered to him back home in Canada.

    Prince returned to life as a soldier with the start of the Korean War in 1950. Prince joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and was soon back on the battlefield serving two tours in Korea. Prince died in Winnipeg in 1977 at the age of 62. His medals are at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg. Tommy Prince is one of the most decorated First Nations
    soldiers of the Second World War.

    He put on some old clothes left behind by the farmer who owned the house and went out into the field. Pretending to be an upset farmer tending his fields he carefully set about fixing the communication lines. Shaking a fist at both the German and Allied forces in the area, he bent down to tie his shoe and quickly repaired the phone line and returned to the farmhouse to continue monitoring the Germans.
    Sgt. Tommy Prince (right) with his brother Private Morris Prince at Buckingham Palace in 1945, where he was awarded his two gallantry medals, The Military Medal and The US Silver Star. Image: C.J. Woods / Department of National Defense / Library andArchives Canada / PA-142289. Sgt. Tommy Prince was Canada’s most highly decorated indigenous soldier. From L to R: The Military Medal, 1939/45 Star, Italy Star, France & Germany Star, Defense Medal, Canadian Volunteer Medal with Bar,
    1939/45 War Medal, Korea War Medal, Korea Volunteer Medal, Peacekeeping Medal Korea his 2nd tour, UN Medal Korea and the US Silver Star for service with the First Special Service Force Devils Bde. (FSSF). Sgt. Tommy Price’s nephew, Jim Bear, has entrusted his medals to the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, Canada. Image: http://koreavetsunit 76.blogspot.com /2006/11/flags-of-sgt-tommy-prince-mm-memorial.html.