Merrill’s Marauders behind enemy lines in 1944. (Photo by U.S. Army Signal Corps)
By George Morris
Dr. Melvin Schudmak was an Army doctor stationed stateside when he was called in to the Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1943.
“They said, ‘We’d like for you to volunteer for hazardous duty in a foreign country,'” said Schudmak, who later became a Baton Rouge physician. “I said, ‘Well, I have a 3-year-old child and I won’t volunteer, but I won’t mind going if you order me. They said, ‘You have until tomorrow morning to volunteer.'”
The next morning, he again declined to volunteer. So they ordered him to Camp Stonemason in San Francisco to join an outfit with an uninspiring title — the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional). Names, it turned out, were deceptive.