Monday, August 11, 2014

National WWII Merrill's Marauders Day - August 10, 2014

Yesterday might have slipped past you without warning - so let's catch you up this morning.  Seventy years ago yesterday the "Merrill's Marauders" were disbanded.

In existence only six months, about 3,000 volunteers answered President Franklin D. Roosevelt's call in 1942 for a secret "dangerous and hazardous" mission (sound familiar - mission unspoken destination unknown?) that became a thousand mile trek through some of the toughest terrain on the planet to ultimately seize the only all-weather airstrip in Burma at Myitkyina (the first Ranger airfield seizure!).

They were the first American combat troops to fight the Japanese on the ground in Asia.

300 were still fit to fight when they reached Myitkyina (Sparta!).  So few remained, the unit was disbanded and the survivors rolled into the 475th Infantry (Mars Task Force). 

Today about fifty original Marauders still live, and their 68th annual reunion is set for Milwaukee Wisconsin over Labor Day weekend.

75th Ranger Regiment honors the Marauders legacy by wearing the Marauder patch as their crest.  The Mountain Ranger Camp is named after Frank D. Merrill, the unit's commander.

Below are some of the recent news releases honoring Merrill's Marauders.  Did your state recognize the unit?  Post links to the press release in the comments!

Merrill's Marauder Vincent Melillo, flanked by two other Rangers, at the 1st Ranger Battalion Ball November 2013.

RLTW  Karl

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