Word War Two ‘Ghost Army,’ Vital To D-Day Operation, Receives Congressional Gold Medals

The soldiers of America’s legendary World War II “Ghost Army” were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal on Thursday, eight decades after their military exploits, Roll Call reported. 

High Honor

Watch as veterans of the “Ghost Army,” the top-secret World War II units that used creative deception to fool the enemy, receive the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the unit’s unique and incredible #USArmy service. https://t.co/XdGL8s8Zde

— U.S. Army (@USArmy) March 21, 2024

Of the 1,000 troops who made up the secret army, only seven are still alive today, according to Roll Call. Three of them — Bernard Bluestein, John Christman and Seymour Nussenbaum — were able to attend the ceremony. The men received a standing ovation after being called to the stage by House Speaker Mike Johnson and awarded the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow, the outlet reported.

Hundreds of people showed up to the ceremony, mostly family members of Ghost Army veterans, as well as other servicemembers, according to Roll Call. (RELATED: High School Apologizes For Asking Student To Remove American Flag From Truck)

The Ghost Army — made up of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133rd Signal Service Company — performed over twenty operations during the Second World War to trick the German military into expecting attacks in the wrong locations, Roll Call reported. According to the National WW2 Museum, the Ghost Army’s weapons included “inflatable tanks and vehicles, fake radio traffic, sound effects, and even phony generals.”

The units’ activities were declassified in 1996 and gained widespread notoriety after the release of the 2013 documentary “The Ghost Army,” the outlet reported.

“When the Ghost Army soldiers were landing at Omaha Beach, when they were setting up inflatables in the rain near the front line in Brest, when they were freezing in the snows of Bastogne or drawing fire on the Gothic line in Italy, they would have been shocked by the idea that, 80 years later, a grateful nation would have honored them in this way because no soldier who served in this unit considered himself a hero,” said Rick Beyer, the director of the documentary and head of the Ghost Army Legacy Project, according to the outlet. (RELATED: VA Reportedly Tells Marine Veteran That He Must Pay Back Over $100,000)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted at the ceremony that his father served under Gen. George Patton and ultimately made it home despite many casualties.

“I think about how these stories are intertwined,” McConnell said, according to the outlet. “How, as one Ghost Army veteran put it, ‘sparing one mother or one new bride the agony of putting a gold star in their front window’ was what his unit was all about.”