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Merrill's Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act

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Merrill's Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act

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Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Date: March 12, 2019

Content
Code:
116.S.743
Subject:
Armed Forces and National Security
Merrill's Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act
Date: March 12, 2019 Official Title: To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the soldiers of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly known as Short title This Act may be cited as the "Merrill's Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act".Findings Congress finds that
  • (1) in August 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other Allied leaders proposed the creation of a ground unit of the Armed Forces that would engage in a "long-range penetration mission" in Japanese-occupied Burma to
    • (A) cut off Japanese communications and supply lines; and
    • (B) capture the town of Myitkyina and the Myitkyina airstrip, both of which were held by the Japanese;
  • (2) President Roosevelt issued a call for volunteers for "a dangerous and hazardous mission" and the call was answered by approximately 3,000 soldiers from the United States;
  • (3) the Army unit composed of the soldiers described in paragraph (2)
    • (A) was officially designated as the "5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)" with the code name "Galahad"; and
    • (B) later became known as "Merrill's Marauders" (referred to in this section as the "Marauders") in reference to its leader, Brigadier General Frank Merrill;
  • (4) in February 1944, the Marauders began their approximately 1,000-mile trek through the dense Burmese jungle with no artillery support, carrying their supplies on their backs or the pack saddles of mules;
  • (5) over the course of their 5-month trek to Myitkyina, the Marauders fought victoriously against larger Japanese forces through 5 major and 30 minor engagements;
  • (6) during their march to Myitkyina, the Marauders faced hunger and disease that were exacerbated by inadequate aerial resupply drops;
  • (7) malaria, typhus, and dysentery inflicted more casualties on the Marauders than the Japanese;
  • (8) by August 1944, the Marauders had accomplished their mission, successfully disrupting Japanese supply and communication lines and taking the town of Myitkyina and the Myitkyina airstrip, the only all-weather airstrip in Northern Burma;
  • (9) after taking Myitkyina, only 130 Marauders out of the original 2,750 were fit for duty and all remaining Marauders still in action were evacuated to hospitals due to tropical diseases, exhaustion, and malnutrition;
  • (10) for their bravery and accomplishments, the Marauders were awarded the "Distinguished Unit Citation", later redesignated as the "Presidential Unit Citation", and a Bronze Star; and
  • (11) though the Marauders were operational for only a few months, the legacy of their bravery is honored by the Army through the modern day 75th Ranger Regiment, which traces its lineage directly to the 5307th Composite Unit.Award authorized