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Looking Backward: 'Charlie Lowe, Muleskinner and Sharpshooter'

"The Marauders were foot soldiers who marched (with mules) and fought through jungles and over mountains from the Hukawng Valley in northwestern Burma to Myitkyina on the Irrawaddy River .They met and defeated the veteran soldiers of the Japanese Operating in the rear of the main forces of the Japanese, they prepared the way for the southward advance of the Chinese by disorganizing supply lines and communications. The climax of the Marauders' operations was the capture of the Myitkyina airfield, the only all-weather strip in northern Burma."

What we know of their operations is from later interviews conducted by the unit's historian. "Few records were available because (they) restricted their files in order to maintain mobility while they were operating behind the Japanese lines. During the second mission, a Japanese artillery shell scored a direct hit on the mule carrying the limited quantity of records and maps kept by the unit headquarters. During the third mission the heavy rains made preservation of papers impossible for more than a day or two. The unit's intelligence officer was killed at Myitkyina, and his records were washed away before they could be located." This was just one of many casualties.

In fact, 80 percent of the 2,997 men suffered casualties, including 424 who were killed, wounded or missing in action. The balance contracted disabling diseases like dysentery and malaria. But the report notes that, "296 is the number of malaria cases evacuated. Nearly every member of the force had it in more or less severe form." Charlie certainly wasn't immune to illness or injury. According to a school essay written by Charlie's grandson, Todd Lowe, "by the end of the mission all were considered walking wounded .My grandfather got malaria (and) typhus, and was shot in the hand while firing his weapon. Because of this he lost his hearing in his right ear. He earned a Purple Heart for his injuries." Todd's mother Amy elaborated.

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