Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseJohn E. McCammon was a Chinese-speaking staff officer who had served most of the war at a desk in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China under General Joseph Stilwell. In Apr 1944, he was brought to Burma on the orders of General Joseph Stilwell to become the executive officer of the US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional). The 5307th was near the end of a trying campaign to take control of Myitkyina, Burma and its surroundings. McCammon's appointment was largely attributed to McCammon being a yes-man to Stilwell, and it angered some of the 5307th's junior officers, who viewed Colonel Charles Hunter, who had been with the 5307th since its inception, had led the unit at the front lines through the entire advance toward Myitkyina, and had earned most of the 5307th's men's respect, to be the logical choice. On 19 May 1944, McCammon took over all US and Chinese units in the Myitkyina area as Stiwell's first choice, Frank Merrill, was evacuated due to a heart attack; three days later, on 22 May, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by Stilwell. On 30 May 1944, McCammon was abruptly replaced by Brigadier General Haydon Boatner, ending his very short WW2 career on the front lines.
Gavin Mortimer, Merrill's Marauders
US Central Intelligence Agency, "Galahad: Intelligence Aspects"
Last Major Revision: Jan 2024
John McCammon Interactive Map
John McCammon Timeline
|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.
|22 May 1944
|Joseph Stilwell promoted John McCammon to the rank of brigadier general to command all American and Chinese troops in the Myitkyina area in Burma, despite his recent arrival and lack of field command experience. On the front lines, after dark, men of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), tired from spending so long fighting in the Burmese jungles without rest, allowed a Japanese force to march right past their foxholes as they slept, losing several men, including Lieutenant Warren Smith who might not had woken from his sleep when he was killed. By this date, the strength of 2nd Battalion of US 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) was down to only about 400 soldiers who were fit for combat.
|30 May 1944
|Brigadier General Haydon Boatner relieved John McCammon as the commanding officer of all American and Chinese units in the area of Myitkyina, Burma.
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