National World War II Merrill's Marauders' Day


WHEREAS, in August 1943, nearly 3,000 men from the jungles of Panama and Trinidad, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, New Georgia, and the United States answered President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call for a secret “dangerous and hazardous” mission; and

WHEREAS,  this unnamed provisional unit of  U.S. Army volunteers comprised the 5307th Composite Unit Provisional, later nicknamed Merrill's Marauders by the press after their commander, Gen. Frank D. Merrill; and

WHEREAS, the Marauders operated in some of the harshest jungle terrain on the planet, sacrificing heavy artillery support in order to walk over 1,000 miles -  the farthest journey on foot for a WW II fighting force; and 

WHEREAS, the Marauders were the first American troops to fight the Japanese in Asia; and

WHEREAS,  on May 17, 1944, the Marauders traveled into Northern Burma to disrupt the enemy supply and communication lines of the Japanese with the successful  capture of Myitkyina Airfield,  the only all-weather airfield in Northern Burma; and

WHEREAS, on August 10, 1944, after defeating the Japanese 18th Imperial Division the remaining Marauders went on to join replacements who continued to fight in Burma as the 475th Infantry; and 

WHEREAS, for their accomplishments in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, Merrill’s Marauders were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, and have the extremely rare distinction of every member of the unit receiving the Bronze Star Medal; and

WHEREAS, National World War II Merrill’s Marauders’ Day is an opportunity for Virginians to remember the bravery of these men and honor their tremendous sacrifices;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize August 10, 2014, as NATIONAL WW II MERRILL’S MARAUDERS’ DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.