In news– Recently, the US President has signed into law a bill titled, “Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act”, essentially providing recognition to the ‘Ghost Army’.
About Ghost Army-
- It is a tactical deception unit deployed by the US during World War II which was activated by the US War Department on January 20, 1944.
- Ghost Army refers to the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133rd Signal Company Special.
- 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.
- 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.
- Its existence was declassified in 1996, when the official history, first written in 1945 by Captain Fred Fox–who served as an officer on the unit– also became available.
- 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.
- Some of the operations they undertook include Operation Brest, when the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops used visual, radio and sonic deception and one at Bettembourg, where the Ghost Army conducted its longest deception effort.
About Congressional Gold Medal-
- It 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.
- Congress subsequently broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, explorers, athletes, humanitarians and foreign recipients among pioneers in some other fields.