What’s in a Name? From Galahad to MARS Task Force


Quite simply, “Galahad” was simply a code name for the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional). Galahad was used during the planning stages, and well after the organization was on the move to engage the Japanese forces.  Since the unit had no designation in the early stages, it was simpler to refer to it as the Galahad Unit. As the 5307th began the long march in February 1944, the code name was still used in an effort to keep the Japanese in the dark as to the unit it was facing.  How was the name picked? No one knows.

New Galahad

Technically no such name was ever used officially.  When the 475th Infantry Regiment took over, the Personnel Sergeant, in his words, “gathered every piece of paper I could find with a name on it, and published an order awarding the Combat Infantryman Badge to every soldier I could identify.”  Those identified as original members of the 5307th were awarded the CIB effective 20 Feb 44, and those who had been assigned to the unit as replacements on 1 June 44 and later were awarded the CIB effective 1 June 44.  They were identified by an asterisk on the order.  The effective dates were important, as the enlisted men who received the CIB were entitled to an additional $10.00 per month.

MARS Task Force

The actual name of this unit was the 5332nd Brigade (Provisional). How did it get the name MARS Task Force? Again, no one is sure.  In a conversation with Woody Woodruff who served with one of the artillery battalions of the brigade, he stated that one of the more popular theories was that it was named for the first commander who was General Arms. Obviously, if this was the case, the letters of his name were rearranged.