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Late "Ghost Army" veteran from Massachusetts to be honored for World War II service

Medford veteran to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal for role in Ghost Army
Medford veteran to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal for role in Ghost Army 02:23

MEDFORD - The McGlynns are known for their decades of service in Medford and Massachusetts politics. But this week, the late Jack McGlynn will finally be honored, for his most heroic service - a secret he kept for more than half his life.

The Congressional Gold Medal will be presented at the U.S. Capitol Thursday to the secret Ghost Army of World War II. One thousand artists, designers, and audio techs who used inflatable props and sounds to distract and deceive the enemy.

Ghost Army
Members in the Ghost Army lift an inflatable tank during WWII CBS News

"They'd play in these 500-pound speakers, the tanks rolling. There would be no tanks, no guns. He'd get on and speak in German. They'd come up with their hands up and surrender. They're responsible for saving 35,000 lives," said son Mike McGlynn proudly.

Mike and his five siblings will travel to Washington, DC in place of their dad, who would have taken this mission to the grave, had it not been declassified more than 50 years after the war.

"I said 'Dad why didn't you tell us?' He said, 'I'd be betraying my family, my country and all those people I served with,'" Mike said.

Jack McGlynn
Jack McGlynn CBS Boston

There are just seven surviving members of the Ghost Army. Three of the 100-year-olds are expected to attend.

"All of our veterans, they do a great job, they're putting their life on the line every day to give us a better quality life. My father was so proud of everyone he served with. Their values stayed with them from the beginning 'til the very end," McGlynn said.  

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