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Congressman Higgins Cosponsors “Ghost Army” Congressional Gold Medal Resolution on D-Day 75th Anniversary

Jun 6, 2019
Press Release
Covert units used tactical deception to support Allied invasion

On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced his cosponsorship of H.R.2350, the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act. The bipartisan bill would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 1,100 veterans who served in two top-secret World War II units known as the “Ghost Army.”  Classified for decades, these units performed tactical deceptions that included inflatable equipment like tanks, and artillery, engineered soundtracks and sound effects, and radio techniques to create the illusion of major US Army units and headquarters in places where there weren’t any in order to confuse Axis forces.

Photo of an inflatable tank courtesy of the Ghost Army Legacy Project

 

These deceptions are estimated to have saved up to 30,000 lives, and after the War the Army conducted an analysis of the Ghost Army’s activities and determined that “Rarely, if ever, has there been a group of such a few men which had so great an influence on the outcome of a major military campaign.”

 

Among these veterans were several Western New York natives, including:

•        PVT Joseph P Costanzo from Niagara Falls

•        T/4 Thomas M Ebeling from Erie County

•        PFC Edwin A Frier from Buffalo

•        T/5 Richard G Matthies from Buffalo

•        T/5 Edward C Pietrzak from Erie County

•        T/5 Frank Turone from North Tonawanda

 

Congressman Higgins said: “The Ghost Army unit is a unique and critical piece of our World War II history. Several of these heroes called Western New York home, and for many years their contributions to the war effort were unknown to the public due to the classified nature of their mission. Now we can honor them by awarding them with the Congressional Gold Medal, and I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation.”

 

On previous anniversaries of D-Day, Congressman Higgins has honored World War II veterans and their families by presenting service medals and introduced legislation to eliminate the fee associated with obtaining military records.

 

The resolution to give the Ghost Army a Congressional Gold Medal is supported by the American Legion, the Psychological Operations Regimental Association, the National WWII Museum, and others.

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