“Merrill’s Marauders” included several Arizonans
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce legislation awarding World War II Soldiers, known as “Merrill’s Marauders,” the Congressional Gold Medal for their outstanding service and bravery.
“Honoring the ‘Merrill’s Marauders’ with the Congressional Gold Medal allows us to show our recognition and thanks for their heroism, sacrifice, and service,” said Sinema, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
During World War II, President Roosevelt issued a call for volunteers for a special operations mission in Northern Burma. Approximately 3,000 U.S. Soldiers – five of which were Arizonans – answered the call. For over five months, “Merrill’s Marauders” trekked through the Burmese jungle without artillery support, covering approximately 1,000 miles. Despite being outnumbered, the Marauders took back the Burmese airstrip and town. Nine of the original Marauders are alive today.
The Congressional Gold Medal will be awarded posthumously to the five Marauders from Arizona, and will also be awarded to Robert Emmett—a member of the 5307th CUP, which were replacement forces for the Marauders—who resides in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Robert Emmett was one of thousands of 5307th CUP replacements flown into Burma after the Marauders walked almost 1,000 miles behind enemy lines to achieve their objective, seizing the Myitkyina airfield, which freed airspace over Burma and allowed a critical pathway to be forged into China.