To plan the U.S. Army landing on Luzon Island on January 9, 1945, Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, Commander, Sixth U.S. Army, required accurate intelligence on the enemy. And he had just the right group of soldiers to get it for him – the Alamo Scouts. Formed on November 21, 1943, the Alamo Scouts were highly skilled in amphibious operations, reconnaissance and raiding. Polished in the crucible of combat, the Scouts could conduct the most challenging assignment; they were the ‘eyes and ears’ of Krueger’s force. By war’s end, they had conducted more than 100 missions behind enemy lines without losing any of their own in combat.
For the Luzon landings, the Scouts served mainly as liaison to various Philippine Guerrilla groups. Team LITTLEFIELD was the first ashore, conducting a long-range reconnaissance to the interior town of Tarlac, a distance of about 56 miles. There, they linked up with Marking’s Guerrillas, integrating their operations with the invasion force.
One team, NELLIST, undertook a priority mission to target several well-camouflaged Japanese artillery pieces that were holding up the landing force. The team blanketed the area and quickly destroyed the guns with massed artillery fires, allowing the invasion to continue. Soon after, Team NELLIST and Team ROUNSAVILLE joined up with a 6th Ranger Battalion-led raid force to free more than 500 Allied prisoners from the Japanese camp of Cabanatuan 20 miles behind the lines. In the meantime, other teams spread throughout Luzon and assisted guerrilla units in the field.
The Alamo Scouts were a valuable asset to Krueger. “A considerable volume of extremely valuable information was obtained by the Alamo Scout Teams,” Krueger stated.