Oldest surviving Merrill’s Marauder dies at 100

Pilcher in 2014 after being presented with an award for his leadership in Civil Affairs

Pilcher in 2014 after being presented with an award for his leadership in Civil Affairs (Courtesy photo).

By Jonnie Clasen /

MCCLEAN, Va. – Retired Maj. Gen. Milton A. Pilcher, 100, died peacefully on Easter Sunday in Virginia. He was the oldest living original Merrill’s Marauder. http://www.marauder.org/

Pilcher served as a communications officer with Merrill’s Marauders and the Mars Task Force for 18-months in the China Burma India Theater.

Pilcher as a young officer (Courtesy photo).

Pilcher as a young officer (Courtesy photo).

“My brother and his wife, and my husband and I, were all there to pray with him and tell him how much everyone loved him,” said his daughter, Ann McKenzie, upon the passing of her father.

Pilcher died on the 73rd Easter Sunday anniversary of Merrill’s Marauders 2nd Battalion being rescued by the 3rd and 1st battalions after being surrounded for almost two weeks by the Japanese at the battle of Nphum Ga, Burma.

Pilcher had distinguished careers in both the military and public administration.

Prior to his service during WW II, he was employed by the Kentucky Power Company and then the Rural Electrification Administration from 1938 to 1942.

Pilcher in a communications briefing with the Chinese during WW II (Courtesy photo).

Pilcher in a communications briefing with the Chinese during WW II (Courtesy photo).

Following his service in the China, Burma India Theater, Pilcher served as assistant signal officer with the Second  Army in Tennessee, and in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in the Pentagon until leaving active duty in 1946.

Pilcher served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a USAR School Director and then as a member and later commander of  the 352nd Civil Affairs Command located at Georgetown University from 1946 to 1968.

He was in the Executive Office of the President of the United States for 11 years, from 1949 to 1960.

Pilcher was promoted to brigadier general in 1966. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army, and promoted to major general in 1968.

He was appointed commander of the 310th Field Army Support Command, Washington, DC in 1972 and served until retirement in 1974.

His decorations include the Legion of Merit, and recognition as a Distinguished Member of the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, and the Civil Affairs Corps Regiment. He received the AUSA award for distinguished service in 1995.

Pilcher will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Those wishing to send condolences can mail to:

1532 Dahlia Ct.                                                                                                                                          McClean, Va. 22101-312

Pilcher (left) at his military retirement with his friend, Gen.Frederick C. Weyand, who served as commander of American forces in Vietnam in the final year of the war (Courtesy photo).

Pilcher (left) at his military retirement ceremony with his friend, Gen. Frederick C. Weyand, who served as commander of American forces in Vietnam during the final year of the war (Courtesy photo).

 

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