As many of you know Rick Beyer, the historian for the Ghost Army of WWII Tour, worked tirelessly for seven years as the President of the Ghost Army Legacy Foundation to make sure the top secret 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and the 3133rd Signal Company Special units received the Congressional Gold Medal. The award is a long-overdue recognition of the dangerous and heroic exploits of the Ghost Army, which is credited with saving thousands of lives during the World War II.
The last few months, Rick has been traveling the country, conducting a Ghost Army Gold Medal Celebration for each surviving Ghost Army veteran. Nine Ghost Army veterans have been honored, including John Christman, Seymour Nussenbaum, Nick Leo, Mark Mallardi, Tom Anderson, Bernie Bluestein, George Dramis, Kenneth Miller and Manny Frockt.
Read on for Rick’s account of one particularly moving ceremony.
Ghost Army Gold Medal Ceremony for Manny Frockt
By Rick Beyer
The highlight of my August break was a moment during the Ghost Army Gold Medal Ceremony we held for veteran Manny Frockt. I’ve been traveling around the country all year doing these ceremonies for the 10 surviving veterans of the unit. Manny served in the 3132 Signal Service Company, the sonic deception arm of the Ghost Army.
This ceremony was in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Congressman Brian Mast came to honor Manny. Brian is a decorated Army veteran who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan. It was fascinating to hear him speak with a combat veteran’s insight about the role played by the Ghost Army. “You successfully did something we can laugh and joke about, but it was serious. . . to make yourself essentially the worm on the end of a hook, without the backup that everybody else had, because the real backup was somewhere else.”
He went on to describe their work as “selfless,” and then he turned to Manny and said, “I would be proud to give you a salute.”