Monday, July 28, 2014

The white sun of the ROC appears in an elite US unit’s insignia

This is the coat of arms of the 75th Ranger Regiment, known worldwide simply as Rangers, an elite special operations force of the United States Army. You might wonder why the white sun and the blue sky, the national emblem of the Republic of China, appears on the insignia of a US military unit. The history goes back to over seventy years ago.

In 1943 the Allies decided to form a ground unit as the spearhead for Chinese troops fighting in Burma, now Myanmar. A 2900-strong special unit was therefore organized. This unit, the 5307th Composite Unit (provisional), better known as Merrill’s Marauders, named after its commanding officer, Major General Frank Merrill (1903-1955), was the predecessor of the 75th Ranger Regiment today.

After having received guerrilla and jungle warfare training in India for two months, the 5307th was deployed to North Burma with an objective to infiltrate the Japanese troop’s rear area to cut off their supply line. Due to the need to combat jointly with the troops of the Republic of China, the Merrill’s Marauders added the white sun and the blue sky, the national emblem of the ROC, to their badge:

In more than a year of fighting with the Japanese the Merrill’s Marauders encountered various obstacles and difficulties. Every time their peril was turned into safety with the support of the Chinese troops. For instance, in late February 1944, as the troops of the Republic of China were making frontal attack to the Japanese in Lauban, the 5307th was ordered to sneak behind Japanese lines to sabotage. Unfortunately they were founded out by the Japanese. Outnumbered, the US troops were at risk of being surrounded by enemies. At this critical moment, the men of the New 38th Division of the Republic of China led by General Sun Li-jen (1900-1990) came in for the rescue. Sun not only relieved the besieged Americans but also annihilated the infamous Japanese 18th Division. Same situation happened again three months later in the Battle of Myitkyina, the last and hardest ordeal of the 5307th , while overwhelmed by superior numbers, it was again Sun’s troops that came to save the Americans.  Out of gratitude, Sun's portrait was shown at the every annual meeting of the 5307th veterans until today. 

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