ALL WERE HEROES IN HUKAWNG VALLEY
FIGHTING SERGEANTS' ACTS TYPICAL OF MERRILL'S MARAUDERS
SGTS. OLIVER AND PUNG
NORTHERN BURMA - They were all heroes, the Yanks under Brig. Gen. Frank Merrill who joined forces with
the 22nd and 38th Chinese Divisions in annihilating 4,000 Japanese trapped in the broad, heart-shaped Hukawng Valley.
Sgts. Andrew Pung, of Malden, Mass., and Louis Oliver, of Princeton, N.J., are representative of
Merrill's Marauders who swept around the Jap right flank, clamped a tight pincers around the enemy at Walawbum and
killed 800 striving desperately to escape through them down the road winding south to the Mogaung Valley.
Pung's feat evidenced considerable courage. This veteran of the Southwest Pacific climbed up a tree to
a perch 50 feet off the ground and kept his unit posted on Jap activity via walkie-talkie. Upon seeing the Japs advance,
he alerted the Yanks, then waited until the foe was 50 yards away before he gave the fire order. The Japs ran into a
sheet of gunfire, broke and ran, leaving 200 dead behind. During the battle, Pung's canteen was shot off his hip, his
radio knocked out of his hand by a shell burst. Although admittedly shaky, he managed to get out of the tree.
Oliver, described as the best shot in his outfit by Capt. Clarence (Ossie) Bruce, was embarrassed. He
fired 27 rounds during the battle and got only nine Japs confirmed with "Betsy," his beloved rifle. "I must have gotten
nervous," he apologized.