For Immediate Release
Effort to Award Congressional Gold Medal to Secretive Army Units Follows House Passage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the House’s overwhelming passage of H.R. 707 last month to award the WWII soldiers of The Ghost Army a Congressional Gold Medal, a companion bill (S. 1404) has been introduced in the Senate. The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), includes both the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133 Signal Company Special. It brings the six-year effort to honor these top-secret deception units of the U.S. Army to its final stop before moving on to the President’s desk. Nineteen senators have already co-sponsored the bipartisan bill.
“The brave and spirited ‘Ghost Army’ veterans made critical contributions to American victories and successes during World War II,” said Senator Markey. “To this day, the secrecy of their mission has meant a delay in formal recognition of their immense contributions. Their courage in secret missions saved the lives of U.S. soldiers, ensuring more were able to return home safely to their families at war’s end. This bill seeks to honor them for their courage, skill, and bravery, which successfully guided America towards the Allied victory in World War II.”
The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, radio trickery and impersonation to fool and divert the enemy away from advancing troops. Although they have been credited with saving an estimated 30,000 lives, the work of The Ghost Army was classified as top secret until 1996.
The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress's highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions. Dating back to the American Revolution, The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards in the United States.
“The passing of the House’s bill and the introduction of the bill in the Senate around Memorial Day is very special because four of the Ghost Army’s soldiers died while serving in the war,” noted Rick Beyer, president of the citizen non-profit group Ghost Army Legacy Project. “These soldiers are all heroes; they drew fire to themselves in order to divert the enemy’s attention from American combat units. Only 11 of them are alive today. Now, 77 years later it’s time to recognize and honor them for their unique, distinguished service while some are still here.”
Graveside ceremonies will take place this Memorial Day at four cemeteries in three countries to commemorate the four Ghost Army soldiers who died while heroically serving in these legendary units.
Surviving Ghost Army veterans are scattered throughout the U.S. in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Utah. For more information see www.ghostarmylegacyproject.org
Ghost Army Legacy Project