|14 Apr 1913
|5 Nov 2007
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseGeorge Alexander McGee, Jr. was born in North Dakota, United States in 1913 and grew up in Denver, Colorado, United States. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, United States in 1937, where he acquired the nickname "Maggie". At the time of the US entry into WW2 in Dec 1941, he was the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Infantry Regiment, recently returned from the Panama Canal Zone. Until 1943, he remained with that unit at Trinidad, guarding US's newly gained bases in the Caribbean Sea region. In mid-1943, he was tasked with selecting volunteered for a secret operational group codenamed "Galahad". The group would later turned out to be US Army's 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), later more popularly known by their unofficial nickname "Merrill's Marauders", and Lieutenant Colonel McGee would become the commanding officer of its 2nd Battalion. During the treacherous advance toward Myitkyina, Burma through thick jungles, he was the head of M Force, which was consisted of his 2nd Battalion as well as 300 Kachin guides and guerrilla fighters. Although universally praised by his men as courageous and an effective leader, and indeed he was awarded a Silver Star medal for his WW2 service, some historians noted that General Joseph Stilwell's habit of taking credit for the achievements of his subordinates rendered men like McGee forgettable in history. After serving in the Korean War, he retired from the US Army at the rank of colonel in the late 1950s. In 1987, he published his memoirs under the title of The History of the 2nd Battalion. McGee, the last surviving senior officer of the 5307th, passed away in 2007 and was buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas, United States.
ww2dbaseSource: Gavin Mortimer, Merrill's Marauders
Last Major Revision: Jan 2024
George McGee Interactive Map
George McGee Timeline
|14 Apr 1913
|George McGee was born in North Dakota, United States.
|20 Feb 1944
|The 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) arrived at Shingbiyang, Burma. Lieutenant Colonel George McGee chose not to rest and pressed on for the assembly area at Ningbyen 10 miles down the road despite the approaching darkness. They would end up needing the entire night to reach Ningbyen, arriving in the morning of 21 Feb.
|25 Mar 1944
|Lieutenant Colonel William Osborne of 1st Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) sent a platoon to attack the Japanese along the Kamaing Road as a diversion for another group of his troops to advance down the trail toward the main objective, Shaduzup, Burma. Meanwhile, Men of Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr.'s 2nd Battalion departed the village of Ngagahtwang at 0500 hours, many wounded in tow. Colonel Charles Hunter, whose radio is broken, surveyed the field in an L-4 aircraft and spotted McGee's column. Realizing the many wounded after landing and speaking to McGee, he ordered the aircraft to return without him, and to quickly return with litters to help evacuate the wounded. Hunter scolded McGee for foolish field decisions, but McGee told him that some of the tactical decisions were made by Frank Merrill directly, thus deepening the chasm between McGee/Merrill and Hunter. Finally, on 3rd Battalion's front, Japanese troops attacked in force, destroying the radio set carried by Lieutenant Logan Weston of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, thus rendering him without communications; he made contact with Lieutenant Warren Smith also of 3rd Battalion, who assisted with Weston's retreat.
|26 Mar 1944
|In Burma, Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr. and the troops of his 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) departed camp at 1000 hours, and Colonel Charles Hunter followed after all wounded were evacuated by air. McGee arrived at Manpin at 1200 hours, where Hunter ordered McGee to clear a field for a resupply by air. At 1700 hours, McGee departed camp toward Auche while Hunter remained at Manpin, where he was joined with Lieutenant Colonel Charles Beach of the 3rd Battalion to plan on an attack on Kamaing. The attack was overruled by Frank Merrill, who ordered Hunter to withdraw instead.
|27 Mar 1944
|Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr. and the troops of his 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) arrived at Auche, Burma at 1000 hours. The remainder of the 3rd Battalion arrived in afternoon. Frank Merrill ordered 2nd Battalion to withdraw to Nhpum Ga and 3rd Battalion even further north to the clearing named Hsamshingyang to prepare an airfield.
|29 Mar 1944
|Four howitzers of Chinese 113th Regiment forced Japanese artillery to cease firing on 1st Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), which had been ongoing since the previous day, and further advanced to force the Japanese guns to fall back; by nightfall, the Allies would learn that the Japanese were evacuating Shaduzup, Burma and the Chinese would capture the city before dawn. Elsewhere, Frank Merrill was evacuated by air in the morning from Hsamshingyang toward 20th General Hospital at Ledo, India. Colonel Charles Hunter assumed command of the US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) and moved to Nhpum Ga, but which time Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr. and the 2nd Battalion had completed defensive preparations at Nhpum Ga, which was near the clearing at Hsamshingyang. Between 1040 and 1400 hours, some supplies arrived at Hsamshingyang by air. Hunter departed Nhpum Ga at 1530 hours.
|31 Mar 1944
|At 0530 hours, Japanese artillery on the American positions at Nhpum Ga, Burma intensified, paving way for a second day of infantry assaults. Meanwhile, another group of Japanese troops moved toward the clearing at Hsamshingyang and set up a roadblock, cutting off Nhpum Ga's main supply route; this roadblock was discovered by troops of Orange Combat Team of 3rd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), but the Americans were unable to break the roadblock. Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr., commanding officer of 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), reported 3 men dead, 9 men wounded, and many mules killed; though casualties were relatively few, McGee nevertheless feared that the supply situation would become impossible to overcome by the next day. Colonel Charles Hunter, in command of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), at Hsamshingyang, began to organize a mule train to leave for Nhpum Ga the next day, to ensure his own position did not get surrounded by the Japanese, and to request fresh water to be delivered by air.
|1 Apr 1944
|The Japanese attempt to capture Nhpum Ga, Burma slowed as heavy rain poured. Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr. at Nhpum Ga was informed by his superior Colonel Charles Hunter that Hunter was expecting a delivery of two 75-millimeter howitzers by air on the next day, which would hopefully relieve the pressure that the Japanese had been placing on McGee's 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional).
|3 Apr 1944
|Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr., whose 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) had been under near constant attack by the Japanese at Nhpum Ga, Burma for several days, sent a warning message to his superior Colonel Charles Hunter at the clearing of Hsamshingyang nearby, noting that the constant pressure by the Japanese and the lack of fresh water were about to break the morale of his men. With 1st Battalion five or six days away and Chinese allies more than ten days away, Hunter only had the tired troops of the 3rd Battalion to attempt to rescue the besieged 2nd Battalion. He planned to strike out from Hsamshingyang toward Nhpum Ga at 1200 hours on the next day, with Orange Combat Team at the front and Khaki Combat Team ready to flank the first Japanese position that Orange Combat Team would encounter.
|26 Apr 1944
|Troops of the 3rd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) arrived at Naubum, Burma. Joseph Stilwell, already there by aircraft, revealed to the soldiers that Myitkyina was to be the next objective. Frank Merrill told Charles Hunter that Hunter would have tactical command of the operation, with Marauders, US 150th Infantry Regiment, Chinese 50th Division, and the 88th Regiment of the Chinese 30th Division under him, totalling 6,000 men. Hunter divided the troops into three forces. He was to personally lead H Force, consisted of the 1st Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), the Chinese 150th Regiment, and a howitzer battery. Colonel Henry Kinnison was to lead the K Force, consisted of 3rd Battlion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), the Chinese 88th Regiment, and two howitzer guns. Finally, Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr. was to lead M Force, consisted of 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) and 300 Kachin guides and guerrilla fighters.
|7 May 1944
|Two companies of Chinese 88th Regiment began to attack Ritpong, Burma from the northwest while Khaki Combat Team of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) fired mortar rounds on the village from the south. Meanwhile, M Force (Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr.) of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) began marching for the Kumon Mountains in Burma.
|15 May 1944
|The Kachin guide leading H Force of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) was bit by a venomous snake, but Colonel Charles Hunter forced him to continue forward to stay on schedule of the Myitkyina, Burma offensive. Meanwhile, M Force (Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr.) reached Arang, Burma; by this time, most of the men of M Force were sick and exhausted; 50 were left behind for evacuation by air under the care of medical officer Captain Henry Stelling, while the others continued the march toward their objective of Myitkyina Airfield further south.
|19 May 1944
|Frank Merrill finally arrived at Myitkyina Airfield in Burma, but would suffer another minor heart attack; rather than appointing Charles Hunter, who had spearheaded the recent successes for US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), to take Merrill's place, Stilwell chose Colonel John McCammon; McCammon had a history of going along with Stilwell's orders without any questions. Meanwhile, M Force (Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr.) of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) arrived at Namkwi, four miles northwest of Myitkyina, Burma; 25 men were ordered to be sent to Myitkyina Airfield for evacuation by air due to sickness.
|2 Jun 1944
|Lieutenant Colonel George McGee, Jr. requested 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) to be relieved and be evaluated from Myitkyina, Burma to India. Both Colonel Charles Hunter and Brigadier General Haydon Boatner agreed.
|5 Nov 2007
|George McGee passed away.
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