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"And when General Merrill told General Tanaka how many men he had in the field, he [Tanaka] was absolutely dumbstruck. (Audio Interview, Part 1, 21:42)

   Herbert Clofine
Collection image
Herbert Clofine in uniform
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Intelligence & Reconnaissance Platoon, 2nd Battalion, Blue Combat Team, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) (Merrill's Marauders)
Service Location: Trinidad; China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater; Fort Knox, Kentucky
Rank: Second Lieutenant
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Determined to serve his country during World War II, Herbert Clofine wouldn't let a 4-F deferment stop him. He asked to be a voluntary draftee. But after he trained to be a radio operator, he found himself stuck in the States monitoring the coastline for submarines. He answered a call for an unspecified dangerous mission and wound up in Bombay, India, training for what would be know as Merrill's Marauders, the legendary fighting unit that bedeviled the Japanese with guerrilla tactics, despite being vastly outnumbered. Clofine was radioman with the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon that worked ahead of the Mauraders; a member of his team, Robert Landis, was the first American World War II casualty in Asia.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (55 min.)
»Photo Album  (1 photo)
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»China, Burma, India
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Assignment to be out ahead of the rest of the unit doing intelligence and recon work; battles to take an airstrip; breaking up on the Marauders. (03:06) Traversing the difficult terrain; General Merrill surprising a Japanese general in a 1952 conversation just how few men the Marauders had; Japanese soldiers putting flowers on Marauders' graves in the field. (02:52) Washington expected MM to have 80 percent casualties; they did lose a lot of men to diseases; determination helped them to survive. (02:29)

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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