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Memorandum for the President
June 30, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I have been looking into the menace and control of scrub typhus which has seriously affected some of our personnel in the Far East. As yet no protective prophylaxis has been developed and the ordinary measures for prevention are not very impressive—clearing of brush from bivouac sites, etc., which can seldom be done in the rapidly moving situations of jungle warfare.
As an indication of what difficulties this creates, the GALAHAD Force (approximately a regiment of carefully selected veterans of the South and Southwest Pacific and jungle-trained men from Panama, which disrupted the resistance of the 18th Japanese Division facing the Chinese troops on the Ledo Road, and later made the remarkable march and attack on the Myitkyina airfield) has suffered exceedingly heavy losses from typhus as well as other jungle ailments. General Merrill, its commander, has been evacuated, two of its Colonels have died from typhus and a large portion of the command has been rendered ineffective—this in the midst of the fight for Myitkyina. Stilwell seems to be the only one who can continue actively on his feet through the strenuous phases of his campaign.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Brigadier General Frank D. Merrill, having a history of heart trouble, suffered another heart attack in mid-May 1944. The physical condition as well as morale of the GALAHAD Force deteriorated as the unit was plagued with exhaustion, malaria, dysentery, and typhus. (Stilwell Papers, pp. 296-97; Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell’s Command Problems, pp. 189, 230, 237-41.) For further discussion regarding GALAHAD, see Marshall Memorandum for General McNair, June 23, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-420 [4: 490-91].
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 499-500.