By USASOC History OfficeMay 30, 2019
In recognition of Asian American-Pacific Islander Month, USASOC recognizes the contributions of Roy H. Matsumoto.
Born in California in 1913, Matsumoto was interned along with many Japanese-Americans after America's entry into World War II.
While at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Service (MIS). He went on to fight in Burma with the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), popularly known as Merrill's Marauders.
In March 1944, near Walawbum, Technician Fourth Grade (T/4) Matsumoto discovered and tapped a Japanese phone line. He determined the location of an enemy supply dump and was able to direct aircraft to bomb its location. In April, with the 2nd Battalion besieged at Nhpum Ga, T/4 Matsumoto crawled ahead of American lines, exposing himself to the enemy and gaining valuable information from Japanese soldiers discussing an upcoming attack. Forewarned, his fellow Marauders were able to stop several assaults with no casualties to themselves.
After the Marauders were disbanded on August 10, 1944, Matsumoto served with the 475th Infantry Regiment (Long Range Penetration, Special) and later in China and Japan as an interpreter supporting war crimes trials.
The 475th and Merrill's Marauders are lineage units to today's 75th Ranger Regiment. Master Sergeant Matsumoto retired from the U.S. Army in 1963, and in 1993, was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2014 at 100 years of age.
For more information on Merrill's Marauders and the MARS Task Force, see: