Mission Accomplished

The Marauders, its rants riddled by disease and fatigue and further depleted by skirmishes along the trail, in a final magnificent drive captured the airfield on May 17. With the strip secured, fresh Chinese regiments were flown in by transport planes to consolidate the gains and relieve the Marauders.

For most, this had been the last ounce of effort. It is estimated that only 200 Marauders remained of the original outfit of volunteers, who could if necessary carry on for a few days or weeks longer. But, this was not to be the end. The Japanese at Myitkyina regrouped and began threating [sic] the airfield.

The situation became critical and a number of Marauders, who were still recuperating in hospitals in Northern India, were declared fit for duty and returned to combat. This resulted in a complete breakdown in morale of an outfit that had successfully executed three daring missions behind the lines; fought through five major and 30 minor engagements; marched through and over 700 miles of impenetrable and impossible terrain; and cleared the North Burma area of the seasoned troops of the crack 18th Japanese Division.

For the Nisei Marauders, however, there was little time to brood over the justice of military decisions. Except for those evacuated for hospitalization, the linquists [sic] continued to serve as interrogators and translators with American replacements, who were committed to battle in a desperate effort to relieve the situation.

Serving with the new troops was like joining the original outfit in San Francisco all over again. One day, Kono and I were conversing in English when a strange GI approached, listened to our discussion for quite some time before inquiring, “Are you Chinese?” We replied in the negative and allowed that we were Japanese-Americans. After a moment of thoughtful silence, he shook his head and said, “Geez, you’re a lot better-looking than I thought you’d be!”

It takes a lot of patience to dispel the strange notions that the comic strips and hate movies have implanted in your American minds. On another occasion, Kono, Miyasaki and I were bathing a short distance away and out of sight of the bivouac. Once again an unidentified GI approached, and again the same question was posed. Again, we responded in the negative, but this time omitting the fact that we were Americans. We watched as the color drained from his face and a “Oh, please God! Say it isn’t so!” Expression replaced the open, friendly countenance. When he started nervously to finger his rifle, we hastened to correct the omission.