WEST PALM BEACH, Fla – It’s a piece of World War II history that many people may not be aware of. A unit of artists, architects and engineers was drafted to create the illusion of a battlefield to trick Hitler and the Germans.
Manny Frockt, 98, one of the few surviving members of that unit living in West Palm Beach, was recently honored with a congressional gold medal.
Frockt helped save an estimated 15,000-30,000 American lives during World War II.
As the war rages on, the US military is recruiting a new top-secret unit whose mission is to outwit the Nazis, staging hoaxes and delusions.
“I faked everything,” Frockt said. “We had fake planes, fake balloons. You name it, I did it. “
Frockt is one of 1,100 others in a group of units known simply as the Ghost Army.
“They’ll sneak in, they’ll pretend to be someone else, they’ll sneak out,” said Rick Beyer, president of the Ghost Army Heritage Project. “They were never really there.”
The existence of the Ghost Army was essentially unknown to history until President Joe Biden signed a bill awarding the congressional gold medal in February, one of the nation’s highest honors for combat. pioneering the art of war and using art to save lives.
Congressman Brian Mast presented the award to Frockt on Saturday. Palm beach Vice Mayor Gregg Weiss also named Saturday “Manny Frockt Day”.
Weiss said: “Long overdue, a big thank you to those who have served. “We are so lucky to have Manny Frockt here in our community.”
With only 10 soldiers left alive, the Ghost Army is turning into an army of ghosts.
“They won’t be here long, so we feel it’s really important to honor them while they’re here,” Beyer said.