MSG Melillo served his country for over 20 years and served in both WWII and Korea. MSG Melillo was an original member of "Merrill's Marauders" Merrills Marauders was originally named the 5307th Composite Unit and was created to conduct long range, deep penetration missions behind enemy lines and specialized in jungle warfare. The unit carried the name of their brilliant commander, BG Frank Merrill. The Marauders became famous for operating for extended periods of time behind the Japanese lines and during operations in Burma walked hundreds of miles.The Marauders were tough:
Retired MSGT Vincent Melillo, 97, was the last ORIGINAL Merrill's Marauder in Georgia out of around 40 who are still living.
MSG Melillo was a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame as well as the Georgia Military Hall of Fame and was much beloved by the Ranger and Special Forces communities. Among his many awards and decorations were the Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart, WWII Victory Medal and Korean Defense Medal.
A week after Myitkyina fell, on 10 August 1944, the 5307th was disbanded with a final total of 130 combat-effective officers and men (out of the original 2,997). Of the 2,750 to enter Burma, only two were left alive who had never been hospitalized with wounds or major illness.Every man in the unit was awarded the Bronze Star.