US President Joe Biden on February 2, 2022 signed into law a bill titled, “Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act”, essentially providing recognition to the ‘Ghost Army’, a tactical deception unit deployed by the US during World War II.
- In 1944, this unit was tasked with a mission to put on a show for the German troops in an attempt to deceive them and manipulate their decisions.
- Their deception tactics involved using inflatable dummy tanks, personeel, trucks and sound effects. The heaviest weapon in their possession was a 0.50 caliber machine gun.
- Seventy-seven years since this mission was undertaken, there are just nine surviving veterans of the Ghost Army scattered across the US.
- The existence of the ‘Ghost Army’ was unknown for about 50 years after it was formed in January 1944. The unit had a “strange mission”, to keep enemy troops in the dark about the number and location of American troops.
- Its existence was declassified in 1996.
- The Congressional Gold Medal is the Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.
- The first recipients of the medal were participants of the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.