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Richard W. Hale
Richard W. Hale had his basic training in the last remaining Horse Cavalry regiment in the U.S. Army, at Fort Riley Kansas, in the winter and spring of 1944. In September 1944 he was one of 600 cavalry troopers who arrived in Myitkyina as replacements for the newly formed 475th Infantry Regiment. The regiment was created as the siege of Myitkyina ended, and absorbed the few remaining Marauders. Joined by the former Texas National Guard 124th Cavalry Regiment (dismounted), they became the new 'Mars Task Force' for the campaign in Central Burma. Hale was a machine gunner in the Weapons Platoon of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 475th. The Mars Task Force fought on into Central Burma and completed the mission started by the Marauders and the Chindits, enabling the completion of the new Burma Road. This resulted in the opening, in January 1945, of the first land supply route to China since the Japanese invasion in 1942. After the war, Hale spent 30 years as an Operations Officer with the CIA, half that time stationed in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His last overseas tour was in Saigon, from June 1973 until April 1975. He is retired and living in Florida. The various aspects of the war in Burma continue to fascinate him, and he has accumulated a substantial library on the subject.
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During WW II, in May, June and July of 1944, Merrill's Marauders, the American Long Range Penetration Group (LRPG), and a poorly led force of Chinese Nationalist troops conducted a 78-day siege of Myitkyina, the main Japanese base in North Burma. At the same time, the British LRPG force known as the 'Chindits', were fighting to keep Japanese reinforcements from attacking the rear of the Marauders and the Chinese. This action was the culmination of nearly three months of previous jungle fighting against the Japanese. As a result, both the Marauders and the Chindits went into battle depleted from battle casualties, disease, and exhaustion. If the battle had been properly directed by Stilwell and his staff, the siege never should have taken place. Instead it resulted in the almost complete destruction of both the Marauders and the Chindits as fighting forces.
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