President Biden Signs Kuster’s Bipartisan Legislation To Honor Members of Top-Secret WWII Ghost Army Into Law
Washington, February 1, 2022
Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden signed Rep. Annie Kuster’s (NH-02) bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act into law. This law awards the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the WWII Ghost Army more than 75 years after their service. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) led this legislation in the Senate.
The ‘Ghost Army’ refers to the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133rd Signal Service Company during WWII, collectively. Using inflatable equipment, sound effects, radio trickery, and other combat deceptions, these two top-secret units fooled the Nazis and drew enemy forces away from American units. According to a U.S. Army analysis after the war, the Ghost Army deceptions saved up to an estimated 30,000 Allied lives.
These tactics were so effective, the U.S. Army kept them secret for more than 50 years after the war. Because of this classification, the men of the Ghost Army were never recognized for their heroism and contributions to defeating fascism in Europe.
“I’m thrilled President Biden signed our bipartisan legislation into law today to award the brave members of the Ghost Army the long-overdue recognition they deserve,” said Representative Annie Kuster. “Through their courageous, creative, and innovative tactics, the top-secret Ghost Army outmaneuvered and deceived the Nazis, saving thousands of Allied lives during World War II. More than 75 years after defeating fascism in Europe, it’s time these soldiers receive the highest honor we can award: the Congressional Gold Medal.”
“The Ghost Army is no longer unseen in the shadows. With President Biden’s signature today, the flesh and blood and brains and courage of the brave men of this unit are finally getting the public recognition they deserve,” said Senator Markey. “This is a monumental step in bestowing a great honor to the ‘Ghost Army’ veterans, bringing their contributions and immense skills out of the darkness, and celebrating these heroes who made it possible for countless American soldiers to return home safely after World War II.”
“Our nation will always be grateful to the members of the ‘Ghost Army,’ the soldiers of top-secret Army units who served with distinction during World War II,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased that our bipartisan legislation has been signed into law, which will recognize these soldiers by bestowing Congress’ highest civilian honor. Their courage and resourcefulness were pivotal in the European theater and likely saved many American lives.”
“The Historical Society of Cheshire County learned by hosting the Ghost Army exhibit that there is considerable interest in this fascinating but little known segment of WWII history,” said Alan Rumrill, Executive Director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County. “The fact that a local resident served in the Ghost Army division piqued public interest. This proved to be one of the most popular exhibits the Historical Society has ever hosted. We are delighted that the members of the Ghost Army are finally receiving some of the recognition they deserve.”
“We are immensely proud of the role that Mickey and his fellow members of the Ghost Army played during World War II,” said Keith McKane, a family member of Ghost Army veteran, Mickey McKane. “Their accomplishments are a stark illustration of how a small group of creative and courageous individuals can truly make a difference. The entire McKane family is delighted that this story is now a part of American history and we extend our deepest gratitude to Rep. Kuster, Rick Beyer, and the countless supporters of this legislation.”
“I am thrilled these deserving, brave and intrepid warriors of deception have at last been awarded this high honor,” said Ghost Army Legacy Project President Rick Beyer, who has worked for seven years to get this bill passed. “Armed with their wits and guile these men saved lives and helped win the war. Their story is an inspiration to all of us! Thank you to Senator Markey, Representative Kuster, and everyone whose efforts led to this day!”