ARTHUR B. SINGER, WWll VETERAN, TO BE AMONG RECIPIENTS OF CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL AT MARCH CEREMONY

Detail of Arthur Singer’s self-portrait painted while he was in Europe during WWII.
03/14/2024

Arthur B. Singer to Posthumously Receive High Honor for his Role in Secret Ghost Army

The long-awaited ceremony to present the Congressional Gold Medal to the Ghost Army, the secret WWII units that used creative deception to fool the enemy, will take place at the Capitol on March 21. Among those posthumously recognized will be Arthur B. Singer of New York State, who served in the Ghost Army as a member of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, 603rd Camouflage Engineers.

House Speaker Mike Johnson will host the special event, along with House and Senate leaders and sponsors of the legislation passed in 2022 authorizing the award, Congress's highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements by individuals or institutions. It will be the first time the Gold Medal, designed and produced by the U.S. Treasury Department, will be unveiled.

Of the 82 officers and 1,023 soldiers who served in the Ghost Army, there are just seven surviving members, now aged 100, three of whom are expected to attend the ceremony in person, along with the families of many other Ghost Army veterans. They are:

 

×        James “Tom” Anderson, Dover, DE

×        Bernard Bluestein, Hoffman Estates, IL

×        John Christman, Leesburg, NJ 

×        George Dramis, Raleigh, NC

×        William Nall, Dunellon, FL

×        Seymour Nussenbaum, Monroe Township, NJ

×        John Smith, Woodland, MI 

 

Arthur Singer’s self-portrait painted while he was in Europe during WWII.

The special ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 21 at the Emancipation Hall, Capitol Visitors Center. It will culminate a nearly 20-year effort by members and volunteers of the Ghost Army Legacy Project to raise awareness and win recognition for the little-known Army units that played a unique but unheralded part in the Allied victory of WWII. 

“It’s been a long but ultimately rewarding effort to bring attention and much overdue recognition to the Ghost Army,” said Rick Beyer, president of The Ghost Army Legacy Project. “The story of the Ghost Army is one of courage, creativity, reliance, and honor, and I am proud to have been a part of this effort, along with so many others, to earn the credit and gratitude from the country these soldiers served to protect.”

Arthur B. Singer (1917-1990) was a noted American wildlife artist who served his nation in World War II as a member of The Ghost Army.  In Rochester, NY, at The Central Library Arthur Singer’s artwork is currently being featured in an exhibition called “Our Nature” along with his other family members, now through May 18th, 2024.

Alan Singer with his wife Anna Sears, Fairport, NY and Paul Singer with his wife Janet, Brooklyn, NY will attend the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony.

BACKGROUND

The existence of the Ghost Army was top secret for more than 50 years until it was declassified in 1996. That’s when the public first learned of the creative, daring techniques the Ghost Army employed to fool and distract the enemy about the strength and location of American troops, including the use of inflatable tanks, sound effects, radio trickery, and impersonation. 

The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops staged more than 20 deception operations, often dangerously close to the front, in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. This “traveling road show of deception,” of only 1,100 troops appearing to be more than 20,000, is credited with saving an estimated 30,000 American lives. U.S. Army analyst Mark Kronman stated, “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.”​ A sister unit, the 3133rd Signal Company Special, carried out two deceptions in Italy in 1945.

“What made the Ghost Army special was not just their extraordinary courage, but their creativity,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), the House sponsor of the bill authorizing the Gold Medal. “Their story reminds us that listening to unconventional ideas, like using visual and sound deception, can help us solve existential challenges like defeating tyranny.”

Other primary bill sponsors include former Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), and Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate.

For more information see http://www.ghostarmy.org. Video interviews and news clips of The Ghost Army are available on YouTube.

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