Gilbert Seltzer was an architectural draftsman when the World War II broke out. Soon after he joined the Army, he was told he would be put on a top-secret mission — and an unconventional one at that.

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He had been selected to lead a platoon of men in a unit dubbed the “Ghost Army,” made up mostly of artists, creatives and engineers. Their mission? Deception. From inflatable tanks, to phony convoys, to spreading misinformation in bars, they used any possible trick to fool the enemy.

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Gil is now 104 years old. At StoryCorps, he sat down with his granddaughter, Sarah, to remember this unusual outfit.

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Top photo: A young Gilbert Seltzer in uniform in October, 1942, after graduating from Officer Candidate School in Fort Belvoir, VA. Courtesy Gilbert Seltzer.
Middle photo 1: A dummy 155 mm gun. Photo taken between 1943 and 1944. Courtesy Ghost Army Legacy Project, The George William Curtis Collection.
Middle photo 2: Gilbert Seltzer eating lunch at  Pine Camp, Watertown, NY, during the spring of 1941. Courtesy Gilbert Seltzer.
Bottom photo: Sarah Seltzer and her grandfather, Gilbert Seltzer in West Orange, NJ for StoryCorps in January 2019. By Afi Yellow-Duke.

Originally aired May 25, 2019, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.