4:21 | When he arrived in Burma to join Merrill's Marauders, Stanley Sasine had to jump from a moving plane, run for cover and dig a foxhole. He did not have to face the daunting challenges of the original Marauders, but the perils were plenty. When the General found out that Sasine was color blind, he was made 1st Scout because he could spot the hidden enemy so well. His first kill came suddenly, though, when he came face to face with a Japanese scout.
Keywords : Merrill's Marauders Burma Japanese Frank Merrill Joseph Stilwell Chinese color blind scout dream Thompson submachine gun Stanley Sasine
He doesn't know how many he killed in the jungles of Burma, but Stanley Sasine will never forget the first one. It was close and fast. He reveals one reason that many veterans from the war would not speak for many years and it is a surprising one.
New Yorker Stanley Sasine was drafted in 1943 and initially qualified for the Air Corps. That was over when they found out he was color blind and he went back to the infantry. He thought he was headed to Europe, but he found out that form he just signed meant he volunteered for Merrill's Marauders.
The air strip in Burma was under fire when Stanley Sasine arrived, part of a group reinforcing Merrill's Marauders. The unit specialized in precise hit and run operations. When they found out he was color blind, he was made 1st Scout. That malady allowed him to spot hidden Japanese in the jungle better than anyone. Their main goal was a Japanese held airport, the last enemy air access to the area.
There were just 130 men left when Merrill's Marauders prepared for their final assault. Stanley Sasine was crawling in the bush when the man next to him took a shot to the head. Sasine raised to his knee and got the enemy shooter, but he got shot when he exposed himself. He realized it really hurt and that meant he was alive.
It was the last assault for Merrill's Marauders by that name. During the operation, they officially became Rangers. Years later, Stanley Sasine finally received his Ranger tab and then, the Bronze Star that every Marauder was due.
Just what was in those K-ration packages? Stanley Sasine, who had all his food air dropped to him when he was in the Burmese jungle with Merrill's Marauders, says it would keep you alive, that's about it. The worst problem for them was disease. Everyone had amoebic dysentery, at least.
While recovering from the wound he received during the last assault of Merrill's Marauders, Stanley Sasine was trained to drive a truck on the Lido Road. With sufficient points in hand, though, he was soon back home.
Hit by a Japanese sniper, Stanley Sasine was recovering in a field hospital when his buddies showed up for a visit. They had something to give him, a truly unique souvenir, the rifle that fired the shot.
Stanley Sasine loved to take the Samurai swords from dead Japanese soldiers. He could sell them to the Air Force guys and live like a king when he was on leave in India. He was a scout for Merrill's Marauders and he tells how he ran into Frank Merrill after an operation and was given a field promotion.
He had been speaking to groups of kids and Stanley Sasine tells what happened when he decided to change his approach and ask for questions. He describes life in the Burmese jungle, how they enjoyed water buffalo steaks, the dysentery that affected them all, and the superior attitude shared by Merrill's Marauders.
Stanley Sasine was wounded during the final assault of Merrill's Marauders. He was unimpressed with his Chinese allies who were under the wing of General Joseph Stilwell. According to Sasine, Stilwell favored the Chinese Army and let Merrill's men do the dirty work.
When he was growing up in Texas, Roy Dugger had a friend named Audie Murphy, who would go on to become one of the most highly decorated soldiers in history. He remembers how they learned to shoot, starting with a slingshot. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
When he jumped on D-Day, Canadian paratrooper Dennis Trudeau was way off target, but he finally found his unit in the small town of Varreville. Assigned to clear out a German pillbox near a bridge that was scheduled for demolition, his situation went from bad to worse when the bridge was blown.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
At Texas A&M, Roy Dugger joined ROTC and the Civilian Enlisted Military Training Corp. In the summer of 1942, he went off to camp where the guns were made of rebar and the tank was a pickup truck. More than a little disgusted, he resigned from college and the Army programs and enlisted in the Navy. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
He could not see anyone else. In the predawn, he gathered up his parachute and began a futile search for his unit and his gear, including his weapon. Canadian paratrooper Dennis Trudeau joined with an American captain he found on the road and they made their way toward the small Normandy town which was his target. Suddenly, there was the ominous whistling of aerial bombs right on top of them.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughan and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
He was en route to the Philippines when the islands were surrendered to the Japanese. John Fain was rerouted to Australia where he served at General MacArthur's headquarters. Appointed Quartermaster of the 5th Air Force, he had to scramble and scrounge to supply the air fields and keep the planes flying. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
John Fain had to fly between supply depots in Australia and New Guinea and he was always apprehensive about Japanese Zeros, but he got through the war without serious incident. There was one pilot, though, who made him say a prayer when he flew. He did so well as Quartermaster of the 5th Air Force that he was tapped to organize the training for the Air Force's Quartermaster Corps. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
As Quartermaster for the 5th Air Force, John Fain served under General Douglas MacArthur, operating out of Australia and New Guinea. It was touch and go for a while, but as American forces were built up, the Japanese advance was stopped. One of Fain's accomplishments was the organization of a crash boat fleet which rescued downed flyers before the sharks could get them. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Ray Remerowski remembers growing up during the 1930s and deciding to enlist when the war started. He managed to use the GI Bill to his advantage and got an education from it. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
While stationed in Europe, Ray Remerowski learned how to interact with German civilians and had to deal with German soldiers. Working as a radio operator, he fortunately didn't get a lot of time in combat. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
During a training mission in April 1944, Exercise Tiger, some American LSTs were ambushed by German E-boats and hundreds of men died. Only a few weeks later, LST 388 was participating in D-Day. Getting to the beach was a difficult undertaking with the mines that littered the water and incoming fire from the beaches ahead.
Ray Remerowski wonders if there is an alternate solution to war, having lived through the atrocities of it. Being able to treat the German citizens in a civil manner sticks out to him as a special moment from the war. As time goes on, there are less and less WWII veterans to recount the war and he is proud to still be one of them. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Juergen Tibcken has a lot of interesting insights from his time growing up in Germany during WWII. Going to school under the threat of air raids was difficult for him and his family. In school, a lot of the teachers were Nazis that taught anti-semitism to them very strictly.
As a 20 year old sailor, Lyle Bercier had survived an adventure in a small boat on the open sea, when men from the USS Quail fled the Philippines rather than surrender. Safely ashore in Australia, the Navy tested his mettle in different ways. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Juergen Tibcken remembers the war ending and the way that the environment of their town changed after the liberation of Jewish prisoners. Learning English and trading different good in this little town taught him how to be resourceful and eventually set him up to come to America.
After the war ended in the Pacific, Roy Dugger returned to Texas A&M and then a teaching job. Assigned to teach agriculture to a class of returned veterans, he had just one problem. The assigned subjects were not at all what the aspiring farmers needed. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)