U.S.

February 1, 2013

Military Intelligence — this week in history February 1, 2013

Tags:
Ruth Quinn
Staff Historian

Alamo Scouts participate in POW camp raid, liberating 511 Allied prisoners

Members of the Rounsaville and Nellist Teams following the successful liberation of Cabanatuan prisoner-of-war camp. Luzon, Phillippine Islands, February 1945. Top row, left to right: Gil Cox, Wilbert Wismer, Harold Hard, Andy Smith, and Francis Laquier. Bottom row, left to right: Galen Kittleson, Rufo Vaquilar, Bill Nellist, Tom Rounsaville and Frank Fox.

USAICoE History Office
Jan. 30, 1945
Following in the tradition of George Washington’s direct commissioning of Knowlton’s Rangers in 1776, the Alamo Scouts were formed as an organized reconnaissance agency trained to obtain strategic and tactical intelligence during World War II. The Alamo Scouts were organized on Fergusson Island, New Guinea, in November 1943, as the U.S. Sixth Army’s special reconnaissance and intelligence gathering unit in the Southwest Pacific Theater under the personal command of then Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger.

The general sought to create an all-volunteer elite force consisting of small teams which could operate deep behind enemy lines. Their primary mission was intelligence-gathering rather than combat operations. From their first operational mission in the Admiralty Islands in February 1944, until the end of WWII, the Alamo Scouts conducted missions behind Japanese lines in New Guinea, on offshore islands and in the Philippines, totaling 1,482 days without a single man killed or captured.

Despite many dangerous and exciting missions, the Alamo Scouts are perhaps best known for their mission to liberate Allied prisoners of war at Camp Pangatian, Cabanatuan City, Philippines. Two Alamo Scout teams, led by Lieutenants William Nellist and Tom Rounsaville, were selected to participate in the raid with Company F, 6th Ranger Battalion. It was a familiar mission, as the two teams had worked together four months earlier in the successful raid on Cape Oransbari, New Guinea, in which 66 Dutch and Javanese civilians were liberated. This time, the stakes were much higher.

The camp was located 25 miles behind enemy lines, and there were 10 times as many prisoners, many of whom were starving and wounded, having survived the Bataan Death March.

In an article about the Alamo Scouts on the “Insigne” Web page, Les Hughes writes: “On the morning of 30 January, the Scout teams took positions within about 700 yards of the camp. Lt. Nellist, accompanied by Pfc. Rufo Vaquilar, crawled to an empty hut 200 yards directly north of the prison gate. From their vantage point in the hut, the two Scouts were able to observe the positions of the Japanese troops, which they noted on an aerial photo. The photo was carried to the waiting Scouts and to Lt. Dove, who carried it, by native pony, back to the commander of the Ranger force.” The company of Rangers joined up with the Scouts, and they all advanced on the camp.

Once there, the mission of the Scouts was to serve as guides for the liberated prisoners and to provide cover fire for the wounded and stragglers. The Scouts also buried two Rangers who had been killed, recovered documents, and went back the next day to evacuate a prisoner who had been inadvertently left behind.

(To read more about this dramatic raid, check out Hampton Sides’ book, “Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission,” available in the Military Intelligence Library, Building 62723.)




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Stephanie Caffall

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony — 1st Brigade, 100th Training Division has new home

Stephanie Caffall Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, along with distinguished guests cut the ribbon at the 1st Brigade 100th Division ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday Jan. 23. Cutting...
 
 

Fort Huachuca Tax Center celebrates grand opening

The Fort Huachuca Tax Assistance Center, TAC, opened its doors at Building 22324, Christy Avenue on Monday. The opening was celebrated by a ribbon cutting with the help from U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Thomas A. Boone and USAG Command Sgt. Maj. James Ramsey. Volunteer tax return preparers are part of the Internal Revenue Service’s...
 
 

IMCOM mentorship offers employees perspective, growth opportunity

(Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-article series on the distinct phases of the IMCOM Headquarters Centralized Mentoring Program. The first article is available online at http://www.army.mil/article/130378/) SAN ANTONIO — Life changing, enlightening and powerful are just a few words used by two participants in the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Headquarters Centralized...
 

 
Maci Hidalgo

MVC offers assistance for Fort Huachuca Families during deployments

Maci Hidalgo Abigail Correa’s 1-year-old daughter, Ana Victoria, plays with her new toy kitchen at their home on Fort Huachuca Jan. 22. The kitchen was put together with help through Mountain Vista Communities’ program for ...
 
 

Super Bowl Sunday — designate a sober driver

Sunday’s Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event with lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, Fort Huachuca law enforcement officials, and the Army Substance Abuse Program urge football fans to choose sides now — drinking or driving. Those who plan on...
 
 

Army predator makes historic flight into national airspace system

Recently on Libby Army Airfield, standard operations were being conducted concerning daily arrivals and departures of unmanned aircraft from the runway. In fact, unmanned aircraft systems, UAS, flights in and out of Libby Army Airfield airfield have been a common sight since 2005. On this special day to the silent cheers of a few, one...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin