The oldest surviving member of the famed Merrill’s Marauders has passed away at the age of 100. Major General (retired) Milton Pitcher died on Easter Sunday at his home in Virginia.
During World War II he served as a communications officer in the famed unit during their battles in the Chinese/Burma theater against the Japanese.
Following his service in the China, Burma India Theater, Pilcher served as an assistant signal officer with the Second Army in Tennessee, and in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in the Pentagon until relieved from active duty in 1946. Pilcher served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a USAR School Director and then as a member and later commander of the 352nd Civil Affairs Command located at Georgetown University from 1946 to 1968.
He was in the Executive Office of the President of the United States for 11 years, from 1949 to 1960.
He was promoted to brigadier general in 1966. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army, and promoted to major general in 1968. Pilcher was appointed commander of the 310th Field Army Support Command, Washington, DC in 1972 and served until retirement in 1974.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, and recognition as a Distinguished Member of the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, and the Civil Affairs Corps Regiment. He received the AUSA award for distinguished service in 1995.
The Marauders, officially known as the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), was a United States Army long-range, special operations, jungle warfare unit, which fought in the South-East Asian theater of World War II, or China-Burma-India Theater (CBI).
They were famous for the 100 km (62 miles) trek through the mountainous jungle along with Chinese troops to capture Myitkyina airfield before disease brought the unit to its knees. Their distinctive unit crest is now worn by the Ranger Regiment.
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Photo courtesy DOD