Biden rewards ‘Ghost Army’

The US president signed a bill granting the Congressional Gold Medal for the secret unit’s service in WWII

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden signed the “Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act,” awarding a top-secret unit of the US armed forces for its service during the Second World War. 

The award was granted “in recognition of their unique and highly distinguished service in conducting deception operations in Europe during World War II,” according to a White House press release.

The Ghost Army refers to the US Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133rd Signal Service Company, which were employed to distract the enemy during campaigns in Europe.

The secret unit used deceptive tactics like inflatable hardware, fake radio transmissions, and sound effects to fool Axis troops from Germany and Italy. 

The unit even created a “phony headquarters staffed by fake generals” to con the Nazis into fearing “sizable American forces where there were none and to draw the enemy away from Allied troops,” the legislation says. 

The unit consisted of some 1,300 troops who were reportedly capable of tricking the enemy into thinking that they numbered around 30,000 men fully equipped with tanks, artillery, and aircraft.

The bill notes that they would sow fake insignia onto their fatigues and paint false markings on their inflatable tanks. 

A number of the recruits, who were drawn from creative industries including engineers, architects, and art students, went on to be famous in their own right. According to the National World War II Museum, former servicemen of the Ghost Army include designer Bill Blass, painter Ellsworth Kelly, and photographer Art Kane.

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