|Alamo Scouts, 6th Army Special Reconnaissance Unit|
|Active||28 November 1943 – November 1945|
|Role||Reconnaissance and Raids|
|Engagements||World War II Southwest Pacific Theater|
The Alamo Scouts (U.S. 6th Army Special Reconnaissance Unit) was a reconnaissance unit of the Sixth United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. The unit is best known for its role in liberating American prisoners of war (POWs) from the Japanese Cabanatuan POW camp near Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines in January 1945.
Origins[edit | edit source]
The Scouts were organized on Fergusson Island, New Guinea, on 28 November 1943. Their purpose was to conduct reconnaissance and raider work in the Southwest Pacific Theater. They were under the personal command of Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, Commanding General of the U.S. Sixth Army.
Krueger sought to create an all volunteer elite unit consisting of small teams which could operate deep behind enemy lines. Their primary mission was to gather intelligence for the Sixth U.S. Army. The unit was so named because of Krueger's association with San Antonio, Texas and because of his admiration for the defenders of the Alamo.
Alamo Scouts Training Center[edit | edit source]
Accomplishments and Legacy[edit | edit source]
In the Scouts' first two years of operation they were credited with liberating 197 Allied prisoners in New Guinea. In January 1945 they provided tactical support for the 6th Ranger Battalion during the raid of the Cabanatuan Prison Camp. The Scouts were credited with the capture of 84 Japanese prisoners of war, and only two Scouts were wounded in the mission.
The Alamo Scouts performed 106 known missions behind enemy lines, mainly in New Guinea and the Philippines without losing a single man. Thus, the Scouts had one of the finest records of any elite unit in World War II.
The unit was disbanded at Kyoto, Japan, in November 1945. In 1988, the Alamo Scouts were individually awarded the Special Forces Tab in recognition for their services in World War II and are included in the lineage of the current United States Army Special Forces.
Alamo Scouts in the BSA[edit | edit source]
Former Alamo Scout Sergeant Major Kittleson founded the Alamo Scouts, a local Venture Scouting unit, in his hometown area of Toeterville, Iowa after his retirement from the military. The organization offers a military style training environment for local youth.
Troop 253 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan has an Alamo Scouts patrol, named in honor of the original unit. Its patrol motto is "Remember!" and the patrol patch was adapted from the World War II unit logo.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Alexander, Larry. (2010). Shadows in the Jungle The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines in World War II. NAL Caliber. ISBN 978-0-451-22913-7
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