Army, elected officials honor History Day champ

Major presents Nashua-Plainfield student U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement

A pretty cool story unfolded inside the Nashua-Plainfield High School gymnasium on Tuesday afternoon.

There was Caleb Sinnwell, a high school freshman who was 14 years old when he claimed a national title at the National History Day competition this summer, being feted by a United States Army major, a U.S. senator and a member of the Iowa House of Representatives.

That, folks, doesn’t happen every day, but it made for one heck of an end-of-the-school-day assembly at the school.

Sinnwell, of course, is the student who delivered Nashua-Plainfield’s first-ever National History Day championship for his website project titled “Ghost Army: Deceptive Communication and the Power of Illusion.”

He won his title in June, and on Tuesday, the Army unit that traces its lineage back to the World War II Ghost Army came to Nashua in the form of Maj. Ashley Holzmann, a psychological operations commander with “PsyOp” at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who presented Sinnwell with the U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement.

Holzmann shared the history of how the Ghost Army saved thousands of Allied lives because the  23rd Headquarters Special Troops used deception to confuse

German troops into first believing that the D-Day landings would take place north of Normandy and then later by deceiving the Germans that a large army — which in reality was made up of soldiers manning inflatable tanks and using audio and other misinformation — was about to attack.

— For more on this story, see the Oct. 14 Reporter and Oct. 19 Tribune

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