Carlson, Brigadier Evans Fordyce, 1896-1947

Carlson served in China as a military observer for the US Army and military observer for the US Army and had marched with CHU TEH’s Communist 8th Route Army before the outbreak of war. There he learned guerrilla tactics and when the Americans entered the war in 1941 he began to press for a US Marines’ guerrilla band in the Pacific. He obtained permission, selected his men and appointed Captain ‘Jimmy’ Roosevelt, the President’s son, to be the executive officer of his battalion. The Raiders’ first mission was to collect intelligence on the island of Makin. Although they managed to drive the Japanese off the island the operation was very disorganized and Carlson had to leave men behind because he did not have sufficient landing craft. From November-December 1942 he led a 36- day march behind the enemy lines on Guadalcanal; they lost seventeen men and pushed the Japanese further inland. Carlson then returned to the USA for medical treatment and took part in further operations on Tarawa and Saipan but by now it was realized that these guerrilla operations could only succeed if the men were working alongside frontline troops. At Saipan he sustained further injuries while trying to rescue a wounded man and these injuries eventually led to his retirement and early death.

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