NASHUA, Iowa - A Nashua-Plainfield student is receiving a high honor for a project on a U.S. Army tactical deception unit.
Now a high school freshman, Caleb Sinnwell spent the last year researching, documenting and interviewing those who were a part of the Ghost Army during the last year of World War II. The unit impersonated other Allied Army units through tactics like inflatable tanks and vehicles, fake radio traffic, sound effects, even phony generals to fool the enemy.
Sinnwell submitted his project as part of the annual National History Day contest, which includes participants from all across the U.S. and the world, with this year's theme being 'Communication in History.' As part of the contest, Sinnwell won first place in the 'Junior Individual Website' category.
Suzan Turner is a teacher at Nashua-Plainfield and advisor for the National History Day program. She says it's quite encouraging seeing students take interest in history.
"It's an amazing accomplishment. Over 600,000 students each year do National History Day worldwide, and we've had really great success with our program. We've never had anyone win first place, so this was the very first time."
As someone with an extensive military background in his family, Sinnwell says telling the story of these brave soldiers was important, especially as we are losing more soldiers who fought during that era, and that their stories have only been disclosed within the last 25 years.
"We lost one Ghost Army member last week, unfortunately, so now we have 10 left. Which is why I'm really trying to work hard with these Senators to co-sponsor the Gold Medal Congressional Act, Bill S.1404."
Sinnwell has reached out to both Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst regarding the bill, as well as Senators in Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas and Mississippi. So far, Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has signed on to co-sponsor the bill.
In addition, Rick Beyer, the speaker at this year's National D-Day Memorial ceremony in Bedford, Virginia, talked about Sinnwell's work during the keynote address. To view Sinnwell's award winning website, click here.
Sinnwell plans on participating in next year's contest, this time utilizing his agricultural roots while working with the theme 'Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.'