Oldest Merrill’s Marauder MG Milton Pilcher dies at 100
By Jonnie Melillo Clasen
Retired MG Milton A. Pilcher, 100, died peacefully shortly before noon Easter Sunday in Virginia. He was the oldest living original Merrill’s Marauder. Pilcher served as a communications officer with Merrill’s Marauders and Mars Task Force for 18 months in the China Burma India Theater.
My brother and his wife and my husband and I were all there to pray with him and tell him how much everyone loved him,” said his daughter, Ann McKenzie, following her father’s death.
Pilcher died on the 73rd Easter Sunday anniversary of Merrill’s Marauders 2nd Battalion being rescued by the 3rd and 1st battalions after being surrounded for almost two weeks by the Japanese at the battle of Nphum Ga, Burma.
Pilcher had distinguished careers in both the military and public administration. Prior to his service during WW II, he was employed by the Kentucky Power Company and then the Rural Electrification Administration from 1938 to 1942.
Following his service in the China, Burma India Theater, Pilcher served as assistant signal officer with the Second Army in Tennessee, and in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in the Pentagon until relieved from active duty in 1946. Pilcher served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a USAR School Director and then as a member and later commander of the 352nd Civil Affairs Command located at Georgetown University from 1946 to 1968.
He was in the Executive Office of the President of the United States for 11 years, from 1949 to 1960.
He was promoted to brigadier general in 1966. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army, and promoted to major general in 1968. Pilcher was appointed commander of the 310th Field Army Support Command, Washington, DC in 1972 and served until retirement in 1974.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit, and recognition as a Distinguished Member of the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, and the Civil Affairs Corps Regiment. He received the AUSA award for distinguished service in 1995.
Funeral arrangements for Pilcher, who will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, are being handled by:
Murphy Funeral Home
4510 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22203
(703) 920-4800 | MAP
Those wishing to send condolences can mail them to:
Murphy Funeral Home
1532 Dahlia Court
McLean, Virginia 22101-3312
Jonnie Melillo Clasen
706 689-0153 H
828 230-8724 C - no texts
Pilcher as a young officer
Pilcher in a communication briefing with the Chinese during WW II
Pilcher taken at his military retirement with his friend, GEN Frederick C. Weyand, who served as commander of American forces in Vietnam in the final year of the war