US Coins

May medal ceremony set for Merrill’s Marauders

Merrill’s Marauders played a key role traversing the landscape of Burma during a five-month-long campaign against the Japanese in 1944.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Plans were being settled May 12 for the May 25 presentation by the congressional leadership of a congressional gold medal to recognize the World War II exploits in the jungles of Burma by Merrill’s Marauders.

The Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act, Public Law 116-170, was enacted Oct. 17, 2020, with the signature of President Trump.

Officially designated as the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) with the code name “Galahad,’’ the U.S. Army unit was subsequently nicknamed Merrill’s Marauders in reference to its commander, Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill.

The Marauders were tasked with engaging the enemy on a long-range mission into Japanese-occupied Burma, the present day Myanmar, and capturing the town of Myitkyina and the nearby airstrip.

The Marauders began their approximately 1,000-mile trek in February 1944, on foot into the Burmese jungles without artillery, carrying their supplies during their five-month missions on their own backs or the pack saddles of mules.

During the mission, the Marauders fought through five major and 30 minor engagements.

They were hampered with hunger and disease, compounded by inadequate aerial resupply drops.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has the discretion to authorize the production by the U.S. Mint of 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicates of the gold medal for sale to the public.

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