Staff Sgt. Wesley F. Celius, Merrill's Marauders

Cookeville, TN

My dad, Staff Sgt. Wesley F. Celius, was one of 2,997 combat veteran troops who volunteered for Merrill's Marauders. He was one of 130 who came out of the Burma jungles alive, but was not one who was not hospitalized. (Only two were not.)
Dad never talked about his time spent there, except for the fact that he got malaria and dysentery and was hospitalized. I learned what I could about what the boys went through from books and a movie titled "Merrill's Marauders." The Internet was another source which revealed that the War Department did not expect any of the 2,997 troops who volunteered to survive.
My dad never received any care from VA, nor compensation, and always said that he'd leave that for someone who needed it.
Dad told me when it was my time to go serve our country that he'd "kick my ass" if I allowed myself to be drafted in the Army. Although he was proud to be part of such a distinguished group, he did not want me to be in the Army. I enlisted when I was just 18 in the Air Force, and Dad liked that.
My Dad passed away on May 8, 1978, from cancer of the lungs. I tear up when I think of what he went through, but he wouldn't want me to do that.
I'm so very proud of you. Thank you for your service.

James W Celius

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