The colors blue, white, red and green represent four of the original six combat teams of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly referred to as Merrill's Marauders, which were identified by color. To avoid confusion, the other two colors, khaki and orange, were not represented in the design, however, khaki was represented by the color of the uniform worn by US forces in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II. The unit's close cooperation with the Chinese forces in the China-Burma-India Theater is represented by the sun symbol from the Chinese flag. The white star represents the Star of Burma, the country in which the Marauders campaigned during World War II. The lightning bolt is symbolic of the strike characteristics of the Marauders' behind-the-line activities.
In August 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed to create an American ground unit whose sole purpose would be to engage in a "long-range penetration mission" in Japanese-occupied Burma. This mission would consist of cutting Japanese communications and supply lines and otherwise throwing the enemy's positions into chaos. It was hoped that this commando force could thus prepare the way for Gen. Joseph Stilwell's Chinese American Force to reopen the Burma Road, which was closed in April 1942 by the Japanese invaders, and once again allow supplies and war material into China through this route.
The unit became famous for its deep-penetration missions behind Japanese lines, often engaging Japanese forces superior in number.
The Marauders were foot soldiers who marched and fought through jungles and over mountains from the Hukawng Valley in northwestern Burma to Myitkyina on the Irrawaddy River. In 5 major and 30 minor engagements they met and defeated the veteran soldiers of the Japanese 18th Division. Operating in the rear of the main forces of the Japanese, they prepared the way for the southward advance of the Chinese by disorganizing supply lines and communications.
The Marauders' mission began with a 1,000-mile walk through dense jungle, without artillery support, into Burma. On February 24, 1944, they began their Burmese campaign, which, when done, consisted of five major and 30 minor engagements with a far more numerous Japanese enemy. They had to carry their supplies on their backs and on pack mules, and were resupplied only with airdrops in the middle of the jungle. Merrill's Marauders succeeded in maneuvering behind Japanese forces to cause the disruptions necessary to throw the enemy into confusion. They were so successful, the Marauders managed even to capture the Myitkyina Airfield in northern Burma.
By May 1944 Major General Frank Merrill had lost 700 men, he was reinforced with Chinese troops. On the way to Myitkyina the Marauders marched for 750 miles and fought in 5 major engagements and 32 skirmishes with the Japanese Army. Casualties were high and only 1,300 Marauders reached their objective and of these, 679 had to be hospitalized.
When their mission was completed, all surviving Merrill's Marauders had to be evacuated to hospitals to be treated for everything from exhaustion and various tropical diseases to malnutrition or A.O.E. ("Accumulation of Everything"). Merrill remained in the Far East and was made an aide to General Stillwell.
For their accomplishments in the China-Burma-India Theatre of World War II the Marauders were awarded the "DISTINGUISHED UNIT CITATION" in July, 1944. In 1966 this award was redesignated as the "PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION" which is awarded by the President in the name of Congress. The Marauders also have the extremely rare distinction of having every member of the unit receive the "BRONZE STAR". a very rare distinction for an entire unit
The unit was consolidated with the 475th Infantry on 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 unit designation...21 Members Of The Merrill's Marauders Have Been Inducted Into The Rangers Hall Of Fame.
In July 1944, campaigns in Northern Burma succeeded and a road between India and China was built under General Joseph Stilwell direct supervision, which made ammunitions and weapons accessible to China and brought an end to the blockade of the fascist state. The road was later named Joseph W. Stillwell Road.
Today rightly so, General Joseph W. Stilwell is honored with a museum in his honor in Chongqing, China. World United honors Gen. Joseph Stilwell, Frank Merrill and Merrill's Marauders by way of The Joseph Stilwell and Merrill's Marauders English Language Cultural travel programs.
The program brings Chinese students & friends to the United States so they may discover the Heart of America and at the same time practice their English. The travel adventure introduces participants to Veterans and active members of the U.S Army Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment. The travel program participants enjoy visiting American Cities, capitol building, monuments, national parks and tourist destinations from San Francisco on the Pacific Coast to Florida on the East Coast. Stops are made in Savannah, Georgia the home of the 1/75th Ranger Battalion where the group is met by members of the present day Rangers whose origin began with Joseph Stilwell and Merrill's Marauders.
The Merrill's Coast to Coast Program has already established wonderful friendships with many of our Chinese friends and hopes are high that the program will grow and hundreds of young men and women from all over the World will participate on the program in the next 4 years. "Rangers Lead The Way".