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"One of the things that won the war I think was the free-thinking aspect of the American soldier. And this group was probably the most free-thinking you could get." (Audio Interview, Part 1, 26:28)

   Robert E. Passanisi
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Headquarters Company, White Combat Team, 1st Battalion, 5307th Provisional Unit
Service Location: China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater; United States
Rank: Staff Sergeant
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As a high school 17-year-old, Robert Passanisi saw the movie Bataan and was so inflamed by the portrayal of the Japanese that he tried to enlist in the Marines. They turned him down because he hadn't graduated from high school, so he tried the Army. Already skilled in repairing radios, Passanisi was allowed to continue that work in uniform, but he craved more and decided to volunteer for an overseas mission. He was told there would be three months of training for a three-month mission; the training didn't last that long, and the mission—in the China-Burma-India Theater as part of Merrill's Marauders—lasted a bit longer. The free spirits who made up the Marauders adapted well to life as jungle warriors who used cunning and deception to defeat an enemy with superior manpower.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (2 clips)
»Complete Interview 
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Download: audio(2) (50 min.)
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»China, Burma, India
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (2 items)
First action at Walawbum; banzai attacks allowed them to use semi-automatic weapons to mow down the enemy; many Marauders didn't play by the rules; going AWOL was common; when the chips were down, everyone was in the field doing his job. (11:52) Aftereffects of his service; reacting to loud sounds; claims that more Marauders had difficulties adjusting to civilian life than any other group from the war. (02:49) 
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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