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Named WWII Purple Heart for famous TOP SECRET 23rd HQ Special Troops "Ghost Army"


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I just acquired a cased WWII Purple Heart named to a corporal who served in the Top Secret 23rd Headquarters Special Troops "Ghost Army". He may have served in the:

  • 603rd Camouflage Battalion
  • 3132nd Signal Service Company
  • 3133rd Sonic Deception Co.
  • 406th Combat Engineers

The 23rd was so elusive and so good at their trade, that out of 1,100 men, only three were killed and three captured during WWII. This Purple Heart belongs to one of the three captured and wounded.

 

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 23rd became a ghost 75th Armored Division tying up precious German resources and time with the diversion. They were so good that the US 4th Army complained that the 75th fighting next to them was not holding up during the German advance. Little did they know that the 75th consisted of sound trucks, false radio communications and other diversions.

 

Captured Panzer troops from the Battle of the Bulge stated that they expected massive battles with the 75th but were surprised to encounter little resistance.

The Germans finally pinpointed the 75th and opened up with their rail guns wounding several and leading to the capture of this corporal. He was first reported captured on January 7, 1945 but does not say where he was held. No doubt he was thoroughly questioned.

 

This unit played a major role during the Battle of the Bulge and crossing the Rhine. Congress has nominated the 23rd to receive the "Congressional Gold Medal" for their superior achievements.

 

Anyone who can provide more information would be appreciated. I have his NARA records (enlistment and POW records) but little else. I would like to know what his role is and what specific unit within the 23rd.

 

So as far as rarity, this is one of around two dozen Purple Hearts issued for the entire 23rd. Pretty cool.

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Very interesting. The POW record matches with the middle initial. Interesting matching of a very unique name though. WOW.

 

Not sure if you can get the other one's record. The list didn't have a middle initial.

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ASMIC #1098

 





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Just a crazy thought but is it possible that Alexander Misterka was added to the 513th PIR roster to cover up his role in the top secret 23rd? It sounds crazy but they were fighting in the same area at the same time (Battle of the Bulge) and since the 23rd took on the uniforms of their ghost armies (or at least the patches), maybe he was wearing a 513th uniform and after capture retro added to the roster?

I know this sounds crazy but having two servicemen with the same unique name at the same place at the same time seems like long odds.

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Wait you might be on to something. I will research this further. Nice tip!

 

 

You're welcome. Either person it's a nice heart. Obviously the 23rd would be the better one but a 513th PIR isn't bad either.

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ASMIC #1098

 





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Just a crazy thought but is it possible that Alexander Misterka was added to the 513th PIR roster to cover up his role in the top secret 23rd? It sounds crazy but they were fighting in the same area at the same time (Battle of the Bulge) and since the 23rd took on the uniforms of their ghost armies (or at least the patches), maybe he was wearing a 513th uniform and after capture retro added to the roster?

 

I know this sounds crazy but having two servicemen with the same unique name at the same place at the same time seems like long odds.

 

 

Could be but I would think no. If he was in a factious unit they wouldn't want the enemy to know another unit, real one, was in the area.There is a book on the GHOST ARMY.It might be worth while to pick up.If there were that few KIA/WIA's I would think there would be a story in there about it.

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ASMIC #1098

 





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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow! How did I miss this thread? This is an incredible Purple Heart for sure!

Will Twomey

In Honor of:

USA General John Wickham (1928-)

USAF Colonel Bernie Fisher MOH (1927-2014)

USMC Sergeant Al De Vito (Chosin Reservoir Survivor) (1926-)

USA Cpl. Macedonio Leyba (Bataan Death March survivor) (1917-2007)

 

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  • 1 year later...

I'm leaning toward the 513th PIR. I've checked all of the 23rd rosters and have not located him. I have a PH grouping to a documented 23rd HQ ST member and have checked all over the place for the name on your PH but have been unsuccessful. Not saying there's no possibility, but I can't find him on any of the rosters. How did you get the info that he was with the 23rd?

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  • 1 year later...

Hello abjuswm! My name is Michael Sherman and Alexander A Misterka is actually my great grandfather! I saw this post from google when I was looking up in formation on his time in ww2. Him and my great grandmother were basically my parents growing up. I know this post is from a few years ago but was hoping you might still have his Purple Heart or know where it may be now. It would mean a lot to me to have it as I have very little from his past. Please let me know!

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