Merrell, Louis Raymond, SSgt
Food Specialist
 
 Service Photo 
 Service Details
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Current Service Status
USMC Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Current/Last Primary MOS
3381-Food Service Specialist
Current/Last MOSGroup
Food Specialist
Previously Held MOS
521-Other duty (PFC/Private)
0311-Rifleman
3372-Cook
Current/Last Unit
1945-1945, 3372, USS San Bernardino (LST-1110)
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Voice Edition

Staff Sergeant

 
 


 Ribbon Bar

Rifle Sharpshooter (Pre 1959)

 

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin


 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Golden Dragon Shellback US Marine Corps Honorable Discharge (Original)


 Military Association Memberships
American LegionPost 8154, George R. Baxmann 6th Marine Division AssociationUnited States Marine Raiders Association
  2003, American Legion [Verified]
  2003, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 8154, George R. Baxmann (Member At Large) (United States) [Verified]
  2003, 6th Marine Division Association
  2003, United States Marine Raiders Association [Verified]



 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1942, Boot Camp (San Diego, CA), 112712
 Unit Assignments
MCRD San Diego, CAUSS George Clymer (APA-27)USMC (United States Marine Corps)Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
1st Raider BnUS Army6th Marine Division4th Marine Regiment
USS Calvert (APA-32)
  1942-1943, 521, MCRD San Diego, CA/1st RTBN
  1943-1943, 0311, USS George Clymer (APA-27)
  1943-1943, 0311, USS Mount Vernon (AP-22)
  1943-1943, 521, 10th Replacement Draft
  1943-1943, 521, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC)
  1943-1943, 521, USS President Hayes (AP-39/APA-20)
  1943-1943, 521, USS George Clymer (APA-27)
  1943-1944, 521, 1st Raider Bn
  1944-1944, 0311, USS Warren (APA-53)
  1944-1944, 0311, US Army/USAT Pennat
  1944-1944, 0311, USS Callaway (APA-35)
  1944-1944, 521, USS DuPage (APA-41)
  1944-1944, USS Ormsby (APA-49)
  1944-1945, 0311, 6th Marine Division
  1944-1945, 3381, 4th Marine Regiment/Regimental Weapons Co
  1945-1945, 0311, USS Calvert (APA-32)
  1945-1945, 0311, USS Grimes (APA-172)
  1945-1945, 3372, USS Marvin H McIntyre (APA-129)
  1945-1945, 3372, USS San Bernardino (LST-1110)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1944 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Bougainville 19
  1944-1944 Marianas Operation (1944)/Battle of Guam (1944)12
  1944-1944 New Guinea Campaign (1942-44)/Landing at Emirau1
  1945-1945 Ryukyus Campaign (1945)/Battle for Okinawa 15
  1945-1945 US Occupation of Japan19
 Military Association Memberships
American LegionPost 8154, George R. Baxmann 6th Marine Division AssociationUnited States Marine Raiders Association
  2003, American Legion [Verified]
  2003, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 8154, George R. Baxmann (Member At Large) (United States) [Verified]
  2003, 6th Marine Division Association
  2003, United States Marine Raiders Association [Verified]


 Remembrance Profiles - 28 Marines Remembered
  • Goebel, Robert, PFC
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Reflections on SSgt Merrell's US Marine Corps Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE MARINE CORPS?
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Marine Corps?
There was a lot of publicity about the Marines on Guadalcanal at that time and it influenced me to join the Marines. I wanted to be a part of that fighting force. I did not want to be drafted and I soon would have been. I was accepted in the Marines on November 26, 1942, in St. Louis. MO.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took. What was your reason for leaving?
I reported to boot camp in San Diego in December of 1942 and graduated on 20 January 1943, then I was transferred to Camp Elliott and Green's Farm from January through March of 1943. After training I traveled on the USS Mount Vernon from California to New Caledonia during March of 1943, arriving on the 25th. I joined the Marine Raiders on 2 April 1943, they were later disbanded on January 30, 1944. I was then assigned to the Regimental Weapons Company of the 4th Marines, 6th Marine Division. After four invasions, the Occupation of Japan and 33 months overseas I came home on the USS Calvert. We arrived in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day 1945 and I finally made it all the way home on 13 December 1945. I had been on 12 different ships and spent a total of 156 days aboard.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
I participated in a total of four invasions: During the Bougainville Invasion from 1 November, 1943 to 12 January 1944 our CO was Col Shipley who had relieved Colonel Carlson. Lieutenant Skip Daly was our platoon commander, he was one of our 90-day wonders and a really great guy. On
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which were the most significant to you and, if life-changing, in what way.
November 8, 1944, we relieved the front line. Since it was always raining, when we got into our foxholes the water was up to our shoulders. The Japs were right in front of us firing mortars. When they got really close, we'd just duck under the water until they passed. Of course, we had other duties along the way, one of which was maintaining the wire. With all the rain we constantly had mud up to our knees. We had to carry 80 lb. rolls of barbed wire for the perimeter and it took two men to a stick to carry each roll. One day my buddy and I were the first ones up on top of the hill so we took off and washed ourselves up. We got punished for this by being taken off the front lines and put on KP duty, which probably saved our lives. We had 10 men squads 3 men to a fire team. We had 3 Thompson Machine Guns, 4 M-1's, and 3 BAR's, I carried a BAR. All 10 of us were a pretty tight group.

The Emirau Invasion was from March 17-20, 1944. The Japanese had already left the island, so this was really a picnic! There were no Japs around, and the Seabees were building an airfield, so our life was nice. We stayed on the beach all day and had guard duty at night. I was with the Weapons Company and we manned a 37mm tank gun. The Guam Invasion started on 21 July 1944 and lasted until July 21st. We had trained on Bougainville for the invasion of Guam. We spent 50 days on a ship to get to Guam, and we again had a 37mm tank gun with us. When we reached the shore we had to literally pull the gun to the beach under water because the water was so deep. We were really lucky on Guam. The Japs had tried to pull a surprise "Banzai" attack, but the attempt failed which saved a lot of lives.

The Invasion of Okinawa lasted from 1 April to 6 July 1945. We actually got lucky on Okinawa too. Other Marine units faked an attack on the south end, and we landed in the center. The Japs ambushed us, and the other units shot a smoke screen to get us out. Even though we all managed to get out, my buddy got shot in the toe, leg, and arm. It really was quite the battle. After that we set out for the South end of the island, leaving Sugarloaf Hill to the Army. They did let the Japs dig in, but they also had to do the mop up. My job was to carry 50 - 60 lbs. of explosives used to seal caves that the Japs were in. The highlight of Okinawa was when I got to see my brother who was serving in the Navy. I was in the 6th Division, and he had hitchhiked to see me. He had run into some friends of mine and they had brought him to me. Then, of course, I got to go on a ship with my brother which meant warm chow and a hot shower, it was really great!

After Okinawa, we went back to Guam to rest from Okinawa and train for the Invasion of Japan. We had nice tents, wood floors, and a galley. After a brief stay there we got back aboard ship on the way to Japan when the war ended. During the occupation of Japan, I had MP Duty, the highlight of which was getting to go with Masuda, a very nice Japanese man, to see the Shrines there.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - Of all your duty stations or assignments, which one do you have fondest memories of and why? Which one was your least favorite?
After four invasions, my fondest memory of a duty station would have to be the "Occupation of Japan", landing there August 31st. We didn't even get shot at !!! We went ashore unopposed at Yokosuka Naval Base. We were locked in the base with guards on the gate. Later I met and got acquainted with Y. Masuda, a very nice Japanese man. He wanted to show us Japan. He invited Goebel and me to Kamakura, a city of temples and shrines, and to his home. Then on November 3rd, we left Japan aboard the U.S.S. Calvert, arriving in San Francisco November 22, Thanksgiving Day. On to Chicago on a troop train where I was discharged, on to Marshall on another train arriving at the home I had left three years before. It was a GREAT day!
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?
For a particular memory that stands out to me, I would have to say the time spent in combat situations and how that illustrated how I had learned to take orders and fill them to the best of my ability without question.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS OR QUALIFICATION BADGES FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT OR VALOR, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.
I did not receive any awards for valor. But, my ribbon with four bronze stars for the invasions of Bougainville Emirau, Guam and Okinawa, are most important.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
My ribbon with four bronze stars for the invasions of Bougainville Emirau, Guam, and Okinawa, or the most important to me because I am proud of my participation in those battles.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
My mother and father taught me to appreciate life and what little we had during the depression, times were very hard in the 1930's. They had the most influence on me by teaching me how to make do with what I had.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
One night when we were at New Caledonia a group of us made our way to the town and managed to get a 5th of whiskey at the hotel there. While we were there someone kicked it over and broke the bottle, all the whiskey spilled out there on the
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - Can you recount a particular incident from your service which may or may not have been funny at the time, but still makes you laugh?
wooden floor. One of the guys decided to see how good the stuff was and struck a match to it. Well, the waitress there didn't seem to worry about too much, just how much we had paid for the whiskey. Obviously, it wasn't the best stuff around since it didn't cause any fire problems!

Later on, when we were at Bougainville, we were in a foxhole on a makeshift bench we had. My squad leader, Thor Thorstenson, knelt down and asked me for a drink from my canteen. I told him no problem and handed him my canteen and as he was drinking from it there was an explosion right there in the foxhole! One of the other guys in our squad had been over to the ammo dump and picked up a rifle grenade that he had never seen before. He had brought it back to the foxhole and trying to figure it out he had unscrewed the cap off of the frag portion of the grenade. It looked like he knew what he was doing so we didn't really pay him any attention but when he poured the powder out and banged on the cap the thing went off. He lost a couple of fingers but the bulk of the blast went into my squad leader who was kneeling down in front of me taking a drink from my canteen. He survived the blast but he had shielded me from the whole thing.

From then on, anytime anyone asked me for a drink from my canteen I was sure quick to give it to them!

Thor Thorstensen was a big Swede from Minnesota, he was later killed on Iwo Jima.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - What profession did you follow after your military service and what are you doing now? If you are currently serving, what is your present occupational specialty?
I came home after three years being away from home and went right to work, got married and raised two children. I worked at a locker plant for two years in Carrollton, Mo, then managed the MFA Locker Plant and MFA Feed & Grain Store and Grain Elevator in Hamilton, Mo. From there I managed the MFA Feed and Grain Store and Grain Elevator in Moberly, Mo. for three years, before moving to Kansas City where I worked as a meat cutter then as manager of the meat market in Schoellers United Super market.

After retiring from that I sold Real Estate for ten years before retiring again. My employers and fellow workers never knew I had been in the service. We didn't talk about WWII at the time.

I am now fully retired but I stay busy at 87 years old. I spend my time with my darling wife of 63 years.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
I'm active in both the VFW and the American Legion and I help out there as much as I can. On Memorial Day each year, we pass out "buddy poppies" at the festivities to raise money for wounded veterans and their families. This references the tradition that originated in France during WWII. I like to support organizations that provide assistance to veterans. I am also a member of the Marine Raiders Association and the Sixth Marine Division that meet yearly in different cities.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?
The military gave me an appreciation for service and for the power of the bond with your fellow service members. I think all boys and girls right out of high school should serve at least two years in service to their country. I grew up in the service and stayed out of trouble because of it.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE MARINE CORPS?
Always do the best you can, follow orders to the best of your ability. Be a good Marine.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SSgt Louis Raymond Merrell (Marine Raider - Ray) - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
TWS and the US Marine Corps
I have been in touch with many great Marines through TogetherWeServed.com. It's wonderful to be in the company of Marines of all ages. I enjoy their opinions and the togetherness. I have also sold my book "My Three years in the Marine Corps" to Marines of all ages on TWS. I love the Corps and I love TogetherWeServed. Keep up the good work!

Published in TWS "Voices" August 1, 2010

DS 5/3/17

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