Mars Task Force

Directly from the memoirs of Sgt. Major Ray Mitchell

The success of the mission in Burma was completed by the Mars Task Force.

The Unit was deactivated and the casual was mostly sent into China. In China, men were dispersed into many units to make ready for the invasion of Japan. Men were assigned to Chinese units as instructors, others as truck drivers, etc. My job was to oversee a casual detachment to dispense men to other units in need.

When the war ended with the dropping of the atomic bombs, I moved our detachemnt back to Kunming, China, a three day road trip by truck. On arriving in Kunming, hoping to be shipped to India for a trip home, we were immediately moved into downtown Kunming to protect American installations, officers, hotels, Red Cross buildings and USO buildings. The Civil War between the Communists and Nationalists had begun. There was a fight for contol.

As the battle moved on, we were moved out of Kunming to a camp where we were processed and flown to India. In India, we were processed again and after some delays, boarded a ship and sailed across the Pacific to land in Tacoma, Washington, USA.

This completed my trip around the world as well as the others that were still alive.

The ship home was much more pleasant than the trip over. We were allowed to stay top side on the deck, day and night. The weather was great for November 1945. Mot of us slept onn deck at night. It would be most difficult to relate our feelings as the ship docked in Tacoma when we saw large signs on the warehouses and other buildings that said,

WELCOME HOME! JOB WELL DONE!

The band began to play and people on the docks were cheering, smiling and waving. Yes, most of us had a lump in our throat and a tear in our eye.

We were home.

Older now, with a knowledge of how important life really is. A tremendous price had been paid by many men that gave me the privilege to walk down the gang plank to a...

FREE NATION.
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Ray Mitchell lived in Picayune, Mississippi for many years, but died November 13, 2011. I cannot express how deeply proud I feel to have been able to talk with him about his experiences in India and Burma and China. I loved hearing his stories.

Interview with Dr. Ray Mitchell is here. 

It is so incredibly sad that our WWII veterans are dying at the rate of about 1,500 per day. If you have a grandfather, a father, an uncle, aunt, grandmother, mother who served in our Armed Forces in any war, I strongly urge you to take the time to sit and talk with them about it. It is something that you will never forget and you won't be the same after it.

Some history students at Picayune Memorial High School had this kind of opportunity every year. What is so wonderful is that it rejuvenates the veterans, and educates the young people. There was a decided spring in their step after that day, so says one of the teachers who helped bring that march through history alive and real to some high school history students.
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