CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to an Army unit known as Merrill’s Marauders that fought Japanese forces in Burma during World War II.
The name given to the 5307th Composite Unit refers to its leader Brigadier General Frank Merrill. Merrill later served as New Hampshire’s Highway commissioner after retiring from the military.
Merrill’s Marauder’s Congressional Gold Medal Act recognizes the extraordinary service of nearly 3,000 U.S. Army Special Forces volunteers who drove a much larger Japanese force out of Myanmar, then called Burma, in World War II, said the office of New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Friday. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Republican Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson and cosponsored by 21 other senators, including Shaheen, and Sen. Maggie Hassan.
After training in the Himalayan Mountains, the unit participated in five major battles and fought the Japanese army 32 times, Isakson had said. When the unit was relieved of its duty, just 130 original members were fit to fight and only two had not been seriously injured or grievously ill throughout the campaign, Isakson’s office said.
“The bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who volunteered to be a part of this elite group of warriors should be honored and remembered,” Isakson had said.
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