MERRILL'S MARAUDERS Filiak, William Basil

John Robertson

Staff member
William Basil
  • UNIT
3 Bn (Communications Platoon)
  • RANK
Second Lieutenant
Bronze Star
Burma 1944
from Queens County, New York
born 11.01.1919 Detroit, Michigan, USA
graduated high school
1 year college
unskilled worker in manufacture of radios and phonographs in civilian life
16.10.1940 draft card Jackson Heights, New York
enlisted 17.10.1940 Jamaica, New York (Private 12018944 Corps of Engineers)
discharged 1942
technician in civilian life
re-enlisted 2.6.1942 Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York (Private 32347389)
commissioned Signal Corps
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My father, Lt. Louis J. Forster was a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army Signal Corps and was sent to India in January, 1944. He roomed with Filiak in New Delhi for about a month before Filiak left to join the 5307th Composite Group or Galahad, aka. Merrill's Marauders in early February. Dad stayed in New Delhi until June, 1944 when he left to join Stilwell in northern Burma. He eventually worked as artillery communications officer for British General Francis Festing's 36th along the railway south of Mogaung. That assignment earned him the Bronze Star. He left the 36th at Pinwe, just south of Mawlu at the end of November and went on leave in India, where he again ran into Filiak, also on leave. They hung out a little in Calcutta before Dad was sent to Bhamo, Burma, and eventually drove the Burma Road to Kunming just before the war ended. Dad was at the formal surrender of Japanese troops in China at still-occupied Nanking on Sept. 9, 1945. He was one of less than 100 Americans in Nanking at the time, and was in the room as they signed. He had taken the equipment to Nanking to handle the press traffic for the event. I have written a book, "Letters from the CBI," chronicling my dad's service in the CBI.