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Excerps from Time/Life WWII

MERRILL'S MARAUDERS, came into existence as a result of the Quebec Conference of August, 1943. During this conference, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of England, and other allied leaders conceived the idea of having an American ground unit spearhead the Chinese Army with a Long Range Penetration Mission behind enemy lines in Burma. Its goal would be the destruction Of Japanese communications and supply lines to play havoc with enemy forces while an attempt was made to reopen the Burma Road.

A Presidential call for volunteers for "A Dangerous and Hazardous Mission" was issued, and approximately 2,900 American soldiers responded to the call.Officially designated as the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) code name GALAHAD the unit later became popularly known as MERRILL'S MARAUDERS, named after its leader, Brigadier General Frank Merrill. Organized into combat teams, two to each battalion, the Marauder volunteers came from a variety of theaters of operation. Some came fromStateside cadres; some from the jungles of Panama and Trinidad and the remainder were battle-scarred veterans of Guadacanal, New Georgia, and New Guinea campaigns. In India some Signal Corps and Air Corps personnel were added, as well as pack troops with mules.

After preliminary training operations in great secrecy in the jungles of India, about 600 men were detached as a rear echelon HQ to remain in Indiato handle the soon-to-be vital air-drop link between the six Marauder combat teams (400 to a team) and the Air Transport Command. The remaining 2400 Marauders began their march up the Ledo Road and over the outlying ranges of the THEATER Himalayan Mountains into Burma.

The Marauders, with no tanks or heavy artillery to support them,walked over 1000 miles throughout extremely dense and impenetrable jungles and came out with glory. In five major and thirty minor engagements,They defeated the veteran soldiers of the Japanese 18th Division (conquers of Singapore and Malaya) who vastly outnumbered them.

Always moving to the rear of the main forces of the Japanese, they completely disrupted supply and communication lines, and climaxed their behind-the-lines operations with the capture of Myitkina Airfield, the only all-weatherairfield in Burmma.

For their accomplishments in Burma, the Marauders were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation in July, 1944. However, in November, 1966, this was redesignated as the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION which is awarded by the President in the name of Congress. The unit was consolidated with 475th Infantry of August 10,1944. On June 21, 1954, the 475th was redesignated the 75th Infantry. It is from the redesignation of Merrill's Marauders into the 75th Infantry Regiment that the Modern-day 75th Ranger Regiment traces its current desingnation.

Modern Marauders

Our team chose a name that had a great deal of history. In 1942, under the code name Galahad, the 5307th composite group was created for the sole purpose of operating behind enemy lines in Burma. Led by Brigadier General Frank Merrill, they became known as "Merrill's Marauders. These 3,000 men were expected to receive 85% casualties with the survivors requiring three months of hospitalization and rest before being fit to return to duty. The outfit included many veterans of jungle combat in the Pacific but also had its fair share of drunks, misfits, and violence-prone characters intimately familiar with the inside of the guardhouse. Their behavior was at best unpredictable. In its short life, the 5307th was to engage in uncommon exploits, suffer uncommon ordeals, get into inordinate amounts of trouble and stir up an exceptional fuss. They were "the most beat upon, most misunderstood, most mishandled, most written about, most heroic and yet the most unrewarded regimental size unit of World War II".- Lieut. Colonel Charles N. Hunter*

Now the Marauders are a recreational paint ball team. We're the ones you'll never see. We're fighting it out in the hills of the Sierra Nevada at night. We're in the rain, crawling on our bellies in the shadows, hunting our prey. We play in the river bottom jungles along the San Joaquin River in the searing heat, making assault after assault on an old concrete bridge that collapsed in a flood back in '69. We play is the rain forests of the coastal mountains and defend the hills along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean.