Watch Live: Members of WWII "Ghost Army" to receive Congressional Gold Medals

Washington — Members of the Ghost Army, a top-secret military unit credited with saving thousands of Americans during World War II using distraction techniques, are receiving Congressional Gold Medals on Thursday. 

The unit was tasked with deceiving the Germans. Using inflatable tanks and artillery, along with soundtracks, they tricked adversaries into thinking that Allied forces were in one location, while they advanced elsewhere. The effort, made up of a group of artists, designers, audio technicians and others, resulted in an estimated 30,000 American lives saved, and remained classified for decades after the war ended. 

President Biden signed legislation honoring the service members into law in 2022, noting in a statement “their unique and highly distinguished service in conducting deception operations in Europe during World War II.” 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries are set to deliver remarks honoring the service members on Thursday, before bestowing Congress’ highest honor. 

Three of seven surviving members of the Ghost Army — Bernard Bluestein, John Christman and Seymour Nussenbaum — are expected to attend. Family members of the late members are also attending. 

Because of the classified nature of the unit, the servicemembers went unrecognized for nearly half a century. 

“Members of the Ghost Army made tremendous contributions to the Allied Powers during World War II but were tragically never properly recognized in order to protect the tactics they developed,” Rep. Ann Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat who sponsored the legislation in 2021, said in a statement at the time.

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