Quilt of Valor awarded to 'Ghost Army' WWII veteran
On Aug. 5, Bernard "Bernie" Bluestein was awarded a Quilt of Valor from Sharon Wick from Quilt of Valor Sewing Circle in Lake Villa. Bluestein was also presented with the DAR WWII Certificate in recognition of his valor, service and sacrifice by Susan McGlade, ABC member.
Bluestein served in World War II from 1943-45. He served with the 23rd Special Troops, of the 603rd Engineers Camouflage Battalion, better known as the Ghost Army, where he achieved the rank of Private First Class.
The Ghost Army was a Battalion of 1,100 enlisted men. The 23rd Special Forces successfully simulated full divisions and units of up to 30,000 men. This Battalion was the most innovative and creative division in the European theater.
These men learned the art of deception and used creative tactics to simulate real troops, for instance putting up inflatable rubber tanks and using sound effects, radio trickery and impersonation to deceive the enemy about the strength and location of American troops.
They estimate that the efforts of 1,100 enlisted men saved the lives of between 15,000-30,000 U.S. troops. Their work wasn't declassified until 1996. For 50 years Bluestein kept this secret, even from his family.
The men in the Ghost Army, with only a handful left, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by both houses of the U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden in 2022.
Bluestein turned 100 years old on Aug. 13, 2023.
The Quilt of Valor is a quality, handmade, one-of-a-kind quilt. A QOV is awarded to a service member or veteran. Local QOV guilds award the QOV during a ceremony; the quilt is wrapped around the recipient as a "hug" from a grateful nation. They are thanked for their service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation.
The QOV Sewing Circle is one of over 550 QOV quilting guilds across the country. The QOV guilds have awarded over 354,712 quilts nationwide.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its 190,000-plus members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide have all proven their lineage from patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War.
If you know of any World War II veteran or want more information on the veteran service project, contact the Ansel Brainerd Cook Chapter, NSDAR.
For more information about Ansel Brainerd Cook chapter, visit ildar.org/chapters/anselbrainerdcook or email ABC4DAR@gmail.com.
For more information about Quilt of Valor, visit qovf.org.
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