FRANK DOW MERRILL
|USMA West Point
Class of 1929
Photo Courtesy of Scott A. Tackett Sr.
|While Commanding General of Merrill's Marauders
|Gen. Frank D. Merrill | Gen Joeseph Stilwell
|Photo Courtesy of Scott A. Tackett Sr.
|FRANK DOW MERRILL 1903-1955
Frank Dow Merrill was born at Hopkinton Mass. on Dec 4, 1903.
He enlisted in the regular army in 1922 and graduated from West point
in 1929. He obtained his B.S. degree in military engineering from
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Assigned to Tokyo in 1938, Merrill studied Japanese and Chinese while
working as the assistant military attache at the United States Embassy
in Tokyo. By 1941 he was promoted to major (temporarily) and assigned
to Manila as General Douglas MacArthur's intelligence officer. When the
Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Merrill was in Rangoon, Burma on a
flying mission for MacArthur, and was assigned to the China-Burma-India
Theater of Operations when the U.S. entered World War II. In the Spring
of 1942 Merrill was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In July 1942 He was
awarded the Order of the Purple Heart and other medals for his meritorious
actions in Burma between March and May 1942. In October 1943, Merrill
became operations chief for Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell. As such he organized
the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), a long range penetration group,
for a hazardous mission in Burma. After intensive training in jungle warfare,
"Merrill's Marauders" as they became known, became the first American
infantrymen to fight on the Asiatic mainland. Merrill was promoted to
In 1945 Merrill was Chief of Staff at the 10th Army, Okinawa. In 1947 he
was with the U.S. military advisory group to the Republic of the Philippines.
He retired from the army in 1948 with the rank of Major General.
After retirement from the Army, Merrill moved back to New Hampshire with
his wife and two sons to become New Hampshire's Highway Commissioner
The physical and mental hardships of his campaign in Burma during the
second world war had left their mark on Merrill and he died, at the age of 52,
at Fernandina Beach Fla. while attending a meeting of the American Association
of State Highway Officials, where he had just been elected president of that
He was one of America's truly great generals.