Skip to main content

Thomas James Roche

3132nd Signal Service Co

Born 1924 in NY, Died 2013

Other residence(s): Brooklyn, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Freeport, NY; Waitsfield, VT
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
College education before the war: NYU
College education after the war: NYU
Source: W. Anderson Notes; Ghost Army roster by state; handwritten sonic list; photo courtesy Patricia Amann

Tom Roche was born on June 6, 1924, in Brooklyn, NY. He was the much younger of two sons (his older brother was 13 when Tom was born), and his father died when he was only three years old. The family lived across the street from Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

After graduating from St. Augustine's High School in Brooklyn, he enrolled at NYU, and garnered a summer job at Chemical Bank and Trust. He registered for the draft shortly after his 18th birthday, on June 30, 1942.

When he enlisted, Tom became part of the 3132 Signal Service Company Special, the sonic deception unit of the Ghost Army. After the war, he returned to New York and his studies at NYU, graduating in 1948.

He married Mary Joan Knight on August 26, 1950; they became the parents of two daughters: Patricia and Amy. Early in his career, Tom held positions in banking and sales. Later he worked as an import manager in the plumbing industry. The family lived in Harrisburg, PA for a time, and then settled in Freeport, NY.

Tom also served as a 1st LT in the Korean War.

In 2009, Tom and Joan moved to Waitsfield, VT to be closer to their daughter.  His obituary in The Valley Reporter states that he "enjoyed the Monday morning breakfasts at Mad River Valley Senior Center. He was also a volunteer in the 'Everybody Wins' program at Waitsfield School." It also describes him as "an avid reader and a gifted storyteller. He was known for his keen sense of humor and sharp intellect."  

Tom drove with his family in a blizzard in February 2013 to be part of the audience at the Salem Film Fest world premiere of The Ghost Army.

He died on October 3, 2013, and is buried at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, VT. His tombstone reads "THE GHOST ARMY."

His wife, Joan, died only four days later.


1930 census

1942 draft card

1950 marriage record

2013 article in The Valley Reporter (Mad River Valley, VT) re his military service

2013 post on Ghost Amy Facebook page

2013 Find a Grave record

2013 obituary in The Valley Reporter (Mad River Valley, VT)

2013 wife's obituary in The Valley Reporter (Mad River Valley, VT)

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!