US Coins

World War II ‘ghost’ units to get gold medal soon

Deceptive tactics were used by Allied troops, including the deployment of inflatable military machinery, to fool Axis authorities during WWII about Allied troop strength and deployment.

Images courtesy of the United States Army.

Organizers are seeking a date to reserve Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for the presentation of a congressional gold medal to collectively recognize the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and 3133rd Signal Services Company, known in combination as the “Ghost Army,” for their World War II exploits.

The units employed deceptive tactics, including the use of inflatable tanks and other military machinery, to persuade Axis military personnel that Allied military units were larger or more widespread than they actually were.

Rep. Ann Kuster, D-New Hampshire, introduced House Concurrent Resolution 84 on Jan. 22.

In 2021, Sen. Edward J. Markey introduced S.1404 on April 28, seeking the gold medal, and Kuster introduced companion legislation, H.R. 707, on May 19, 2021.

The Senate approved an amended version of Markey’s bill on Dec. 15, 2021, with the House concurring on Jan. 19, 2022.

President Biden signed the legislation Feb. 1, 2022, making it Public Law 117-85.

The law calls for the gold medal to be delivered to the Smithsonian Institution after the medal presentation ceremony, with the museum to make accommodations for the medal to be placed on public display in the national museum system and for it to be loaned out for display and research elsewhere.

The law grants the Treasury secretary the authority to direct the U.S. Mint to produce and offer for sale 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicates of the gold medal.

Other recent bronze duplicate medal offerings price 1.5-inch versions at $20 each and 3-inch versions at $160 each.

The Matte Finish medals are struck at the Philadelphia Mint but without the facility’s P Mint mark.

The bronze composition for 1.5-inch duplicate medals is 95% copper, 5% zinc. For the 3-inch version, the composition is 90% copper, 10 % zinc.

The designs approved by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for the medal will be revealed after the gold medal presentation ceremony.

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