Gil Seltzer is 104 years old, but he still has vivid memories of his time in the Ghost Army 75 years ago. He sat down for a StoryCorps interview with his granddaughter, Sarah Seltzer, and an edited version of it appeard on NPR Weeknd Edition this morning.
A bipartisan group of representative and Senators are renewing an effort to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Ghost Army of World War II.
In the House of Representative, Democrat Annie Kuster of NH and Republican Peter King of New York have introduced HR 2350, a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133 Signal Service Company.
“It’s an honor to sponsor this bipartisan legislation to honor the unsung heroes of the Ghost Army whose innovative tactics sowed confusion among enemy forces during World War 2,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The members of the Ghost Army, including Granite Stater Mickey McKane, saved countless Allied lives through their visual and acoustic deception. It’s long past time that these brave Americans were recognized for their contributions to the war effort during WWII, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.”
“I commend Rep. Kuster for introducing this legislation which honors the critical role of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops (“Ghost Army”) during World War II. Their heroics were unknown for more than 40 years and it is finally time that the American people not only learn about but recognize their ingenuity and selflessness which saved countless American and Allied lives. They deserve their due,” said Congressman King.
In the Senate, the gold medal effort is being led by Sens. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, who have introduced S 1421. Nine other Senators have co-sponsored the bill.
“These brave soldiers brought unique, creative skills to the most dangerous and critical missions,” said Senator Markey. “They epitomized the American can-do, innovative spirit. Against the odds, they convinced the enemy forces that they were the ones at a tactical disadvantage. It’s time these brave patriots are recognized for their critical contributions to the Allied victory in World War II.”
“Our nation will always be grateful to the members of the ‘Ghost Army’ soldiers who served with distinction during World War II,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill would recognize these soldiers with Congress’ highest civilian honor for their courage and resourcefulness, which were pivotal in the European theater and likely saved many American lives.”
Ben Affleck, director and star of Argo is working on the Hollywood version of The Ghost Army, based on the PBS documentary by Rick Beyer, and the book The Ghost Army of WWII by Beyer and Sayles. Read all the details in Variety.