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"There was a notice on the bulletin board that volunteers were needed for a hazardous mission… Anything being better than what I was doing, I signed up immediately." (Memoir, page 3)

   Kermit A. Bushur
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Kermit A. Bushur, Calcutta, India
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Khaki Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) (Merrill's Marauders)
Service Location: Bombay, India; Calcutta, India; China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater; Scott Field, St. Louis, Missouri; Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Little Rock, Arkansas; Camp Lion, Mt. Oran; HMT Rohna; 20th General Hospital; Miami, Florida; Camp Shelby, Mississippi
Rank: Private
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Kermit Bushur had an identity problem that nagged him throughout World War II—and likely saved his life. His draft board turned him down several times, granting him exemptions he didn't want, so he finally requested voluntary induction. He missed his outfit's departure for the European Theater and was thrown in with another unit headed for India. His papers were lost when a transport ship carrying him was sunk. Arriving in India with no orders, he was assigned to pick up corpses (a famine was sweeping the country) for funeral pyres. Volunteering for what was described as a hazardous mission, he soon found himself part of Merrill's Marauders, the composite unit of guerrillas sent into Burma to harass the Japanese. He would later learn that his original company was almost completely wiped out on the beaches of Normandy.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
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Download: audio(2) (55 min.)
»Photo Album  (4 photos)
»A Insignificant Life in a turbulent world
 Official Documents
»View List (3 items)
 Personal Correspondence
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 Other Materials
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More like this
»China, Burma, India
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Volunteering for a dangerous mission, which turned out to be Merrill's Marauders. His squad was assigned dirty work; his leader was a convicted murderer given a release to combat with no training; how they came to be named Merrill's Marauders. (03:50) His short career as a muleskinner. (02:10) Combat action at Walawbum; a birthday bath interrupted; dodging the Japanese in the aftermath; discovering the enemy was firing artillery from the backs of elephants; wounded during action on April 4; evacuated by plane in a confined takeoff area. (08:07)
Treated at an aid station by a doctor who wrote a book about his experiences; documenting Bushur's treatment confirmed he was a member of the Marauders, since he had no records. (04:32) After a Nisei interpreter tapped a phone line to spy on the Japanese, they avoided an ambush; Japanese using their dogs to locate them, and the Marauders countering to avoid giving away their location; General Merrill sending him home. (07:49) Sympathetic to American troops in Vietnam, because the Marauders as guerrillas operated in a similar fashion to that of the Vietcong. (00:47)
 Official Documents (3 items)
Special Order number 16 [5/6/1945] Letter Order #426 [5/9/1945] Note detailing trip home to New York from Karachi
 Personal Correspondence (2 items)
Email from Shawn Dochtermann, grandson of the pilot who sunk the Rhona [11/11/2002] Letter from Major General Frank D. merril [5/5/1945] 
 Other Materials (3 items)
Account of Merrill's Marauders' attempt to open the Ledo-Burma land road to China Article from the official Army website: "Sinking of the 'Rhona'--A virtually unknown WWII tragedy" Ledo pin created by Bushur

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  October 26, 2011
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