MARIETTA, Ga. — One of the last surviving members of the famed World War II guerrilla force known as “Merrill’s Marauders,” 88-year-old Stanley M. Sasine, of Vinings, was presented with the Bronze Star, a Combat Infantry Badge and a Ranger Tab on Monday, decades after he was authorized to receive it.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who presented the honors, said Sasine was authorized but never received the Bronze Star Medal.
Sasine earned the decorations, Chambliss said, “during a campaign in 1944, very deep behind Japanese enemy lines, and he was a member of a very select group called Merrill’s Marauders that made a huge difference in the campaign in Burma, China and India.”
The guerrilla force took its name from its commander, Brig. Gen Frank Merrill. Their mission was to infiltrate Japanese-occupied Burma and cut off Japanese communications and supply lines.
The hope was for the force to prepare the way for Gen. Joseph Stillwell’s Chinese-American Force to reopen the Burma Road, which was closed in April 1942 by the Japanese invaders, and once again allow supplies and war material into China through this route, according to History.com.
The unit consisted of about 3,000 soldiers officially called 5307th Composite Unit, code-named “Galahad.”
Sasine said there are only 18 Merrill’s Marauders alive.
Sasine, a native of Brooklyn, said he would have received the award earlier were it not for a fire that burned some of the records detailing his service.
“I’ve been trying to get this Bronze Star for many, many years, and it was always ‘no record of your name being a Marauder,’ ” Sasine said. “Finally we put it together, piece by piece. I’m very happy. I’m very mellow now. Finally, I got my due.”
Among those in attendance were Lt. Col. Bob O’Brien, 5th Ranger Training Battalion Commander, and his command sergeant major, Frank James, who came from Camp Frank D. Merrill in Dahlonega to honor Sasine.