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U.S. Army Special Forces: "The Green Berets"

Alamo Scouts

The Alamo Scouts were organized on Ferguson Island, New Guinea, on 28 November 1943 to conduct reconnaissance and raider work in the Southwest Pacific Theater under the personal command of then Lt. General Walter Krueger, Commanding General, Sixth U.S. Army.

Named for his beloved association with San Antonio, Texas, and the Alamo, Krueger envisioned that the Alamo Scouts, consisting of small teams of highly trained volunteers, would operate deep behind enemy lines to provide intelligence-gathering and tactical reconnaissance in advance of Sixth U.S. Army landing operations.

From their first operational mission in the Admiralty Islands in February, 1944, to the end of World War II, the Alamo Scouts performed 106 known missions behind enemy lines in New Guinea and in the Philippines without losing a single man killed or captured.

During these two years the Alamo Scouts liberated 197 Allied prisoners in New Guinea, and provided forward reconnaissance and tactical support of the Sixth Ranger Battalion in the liberation of the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp on Luzon, in February 1945, freeing 511 Allied prisoners. In addition, the Alamo Scouts captured 84 Japanese prisoners of war.

The Alamo Scouts evolved from a simple reconnaissance unit in New Guinea to a sophisticated intelligence collection group which supplied and coordinated large-scale guerrilla operations on Leyte and Luzon.

In July 1945, the Alamo Scouts were training to conduct pre-invasion reconnaissance of Kyushu in preparation for OPERATION OLYMPIC, the first step in the proposed Allied invasion of the Japanese homeland. Following the Japanese surrender, the Alamo Scouts landed in Wakayama and became part of the occupation army

They were unceremoniously disbanded at Kyoto, Japan, in November 1945, never to be reconstituted.

The Alamo Scouts have the finest record of any elite unit of World War II and, arguably, one of the finest in the history of the United States military.

In 1988, the Alamo Scouts were individually awarded the SPECIAL FORCES SHOULDER TAB for their services in World War II and included in the lineage of today's U.S. Army Special Forces.

Myth: The Alamo Scouts were an all airborne unit.
Fact: One team of Alamo Scouts was airborne qualified along with other individuals, but did not jump any missions. Airborne training was not part of the Alamo Scouts training program.
Myth: The Alamo Scouts were an all-Native American unit.
Fact: Although the Alamo Scouts had soldiers of the Chippewa, Fox, Seminole, Navajo and other tribes on their teams, they were not solely composed of Native Americans. Alamo Scout teams included Caucasians, Native Americas, Filipinos, and Hispanics. The Alamo Scouts shoulder patch, which depicts an Indian head, undoubtedly contributed to the myth.
Myth: The Alamo Scouts mission was solely to kill the enemy.
Fact: Although the Alamo Scouts conducted some direct action missions and accounted for hundreds of enemy kills, their primary mission was to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines, gather information, and get out undetected. The information they provided was passed on to larger, conventional units.
Myth: The Alamo Scouts did their best work during the Korean War.
Fact: The Alamo Scouts were disbanded in Japan shortly after the end of World War II and were never reformed. However, several former Alamo Scouts served in the Korean War and in Vietnam.
Myth: The Alamo Scouts performed sixty to eighty missions.
Fact: Since the Alamo Scouts were a top secret unit and many of their missions classified until the early 1990's, neither the Army, military historians, nor the Scouts themselves knew the extent of their operations. To date, 106 missions have been identified, all without the loss of a single man killed or captured.
Myth: The Alamo Scouts have received due credit and public recognition for their part in the Allied victory in the Pacific during World War II.
Fact: While the names of several elite units of World War II are recognizable to most Americans and have been ingrained into their consciousness through scores of books and movies, the amazing story of the Alamo Scouts is just beginning to surface. Help give the Alamo Scouts the credit they deserve. Please pass along their story.


This page is an unofficial document and does not represent information endorsed by the United States Government, the United States Special Operations Command or the United States Army Special Operations Command. However, most information is derived from those sources and has been checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and suggestions, please go to the Communications Center.

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