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.


 
 

 
U.S. Army IMCOM photo by Amanda S. Rodriguez

Civilian mentor program shapes Army installation management’s future

U.S. Army IMCOM photo by Amanda S. Rodriguez U.S. Army Installation Management Command mentors and mentees work on teambuilding skills, building a block tower in total silience, during the IMCOM Headquarters Centralized Mentori...
 
 
DoD

DFAS reminds DoD employees to review tax withholdings

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service gave U.S. Department of Defense employees a friendly reminder to review withholdings from their paycheck, in an email last week. If a large tax refund was received or you owed a large amount in taxes during the recent tax season, you may need to look over your federal and...
 
 

Odierno: Information, instability travel at similar speeds

ASPEN, Colo. – As the world has become more interconnected and information travels faster than ever before, it also has become more unpredictable and dangerous, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said here last night. “People now understand more about what other people might have, what they might want, how much control they want...
 

 
Gabrielle Kuholski

Post children attend Vacation Bible School week

Gabrielle Kuholski Pictured with the microphone, Colleen Sherod, 20, Vacation Bible School volunteer, emcees a review of the week’s religious lessons as VBS students hold up posters of their “Bible buddies.” The activity ...
 
 
Maranda Flynn

Seifert School-Age Center offers fun for kids, piece-of-mind for parents

Maranda Flynn Selene Ferro, 9, Jaliah Eldridge, 7, and Malachi Bergstrom, 7, build a puzzle train city in the creative play area of the first through third grade room at the Seifert School-Age Center. Creative play allows child...
 
 

Coronado National Forest fire crew assists with Oregon firefighting efforts

TUCSON, Ariz. – An initial attack firefighting crew from the Coronado National Forest has been assigned to firefighting duties on the Logging Unit Fires north of Warm Springs, Oregon. Coronado Crew 5 was ordered as a firefighting resource on July 16, 2014. The crew departed July 17, arriving at the fires on July 18. Crew...
 




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