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Seymore Nussenbaum shares his experience as one of the last surviving members of the Ghost Army

Seymore Nussenbaum shares his experience


In the annals of World War II history, few units are as shrouded in secrecy and intrigue as the Ghost Army. Seymore Nussenbaum, one of the last surviving members of this unique unit, has recently shared his remarkable experiences, shedding light on the covert operations that played a crucial role in the Allied victory.

The Ghost Army: An Overview

The Ghost Army, officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, was a United States Army tactical deception unit. Activated in 1944, this top-secret unit was tasked with conducting deceptive operations to mislead German forces about the strength and location of Allied troops. Comprised of artists, actors, sound engineers, and other creative professionals, the Ghost Army used a combination of inflatable tanks, sound effects, radio transmissions, and elaborate ruses to create the illusion of substantial military formations.

Seymore Nussenbaum’s Journey

Seymore Nussenbaum, now in his late 90s, was a young soldier when he joined the Ghost Army. His background in art and design made him an ideal candidate for this unconventional unit. Nussenbaum’s artistic talents were put to use in creating realistic-looking inflatable tanks, artillery, and even aircraft, which were essential in fooling the enemy reconnaissance.

Life in the Ghost Army

  1. Inflatable Decoys: Nussenbaum and his fellow soldiers worked tirelessly to create and deploy inflatable decoys that mimicked real military equipment. These decoys were strategically placed to mislead German forces about the actual locations of Allied troops.
  2. Sound Deception: The Ghost Army used state-of-the-art sound equipment to broadcast recordings of troop movements, construction work, and other military activities. These sounds were carefully designed to be heard from miles away, adding to the illusion of large, active military units.
  3. Radio Deception: Skilled radio operators, including Nussenbaum, conducted phony radio transmissions to confuse the enemy about Allied plans and movements. These transmissions were crafted to be intercepted by German forces, who were led to believe they were genuine.
  4. Art and Camouflage: The artistic members of the Ghost Army, including Nussenbaum, were also responsible for creating realistic camouflage to hide actual Allied positions and installations. Their work was crucial in ensuring the success of deception operations.

Notable Operations

One of the most significant operations involving the Ghost Army was the deception preceding the D-Day invasion. The unit created a phantom army in southeastern England, complete with inflatable tanks and dummy landing craft, to convince the Germans that the invasion would occur at Pas de Calais rather than Normandy. This deception, known as Operation Fortitude, played a vital role in the success of the Normandy landings.

The Psychological Toll

While the work of the Ghost Army was largely behind the scenes, it was not without its dangers. Nussenbaum recalls the constant threat of discovery and the psychological strain of maintaining the elaborate deceptions. The unit’s success depended on absolute secrecy, and any slip-up could have devastating consequences.

Post-War Life and Legacy

After the war, Seymore Nussenbaum returned to civilian life, carrying with him the extraordinary experiences and memories of his time with the Ghost Army. For many years, the work of the Ghost Army remained classified, and its members could not speak about their contributions. It was only decades later that the unit’s existence was declassified, and the veterans could share their stories.

Nussenbaum has dedicated his later years to educating the public about the Ghost Army’s unique role in World War II. He participates in talks, interviews, and documentary projects, ensuring that the legacy of the Ghost Army and its contributions to the Allied victory are not forgotten.


Seymore Nussenbaum’s experiences as a member of the Ghost Army provide a fascinating glimpse into a lesser-known but incredibly impactful aspect of World War II. His story is a testament to the ingenuity, creativity, and bravery of the men who used deception to outwit the enemy and save countless lives. As one of the last surviving members of this extraordinary unit, Nussenbaum’s accounts ensure that the legacy of the Ghost Army will endure for future generations to appreciate and honor.

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