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Deployed on every continent, operating in remote areas under spartan conditions, with a tenuous radio link their only connection to higher headquarters, small detachments of U. forces are training their allies to defend themselves against dangerous insurgents.
Often they are the sole American military presence in a nation, every day making tough decisions in unheard-of situations, with no one looking over their shoulders.
In perhaps their greatest feat, the Scouts led a company of the 6th Ranger Battalion and Filipino guerrillas in an attack on the Japanese prison camp at Cabanatuan, 30 miles behind the Japanese lines, freeing all 513 Allied prisoners.
Never numbering more than 70 volunteers, the Alamo Scouts earned 44 Silver Star Medals, 33 Bronze Star Medals and four Soldier’s Medals by the end of the war.
In more than 80 hazardous missions, they never lost a man in action.
Command Sergeant Major Galen Kittleson, a Son Tay raider, began his career with the Alamo Scouts.
It is because of this record that the modern-day Special Forces remain devoted to their Latin motto, De Oppresso Liber – To Free the Oppressed.
Decimated by disease and battle casualties, the Marauders were disbanded after the battle and replaced by the Mars Task Force, a similar infantry formation that fought in Burma and China until the end of the war.
While with the Mars Task Force, First Sergeant Jack Knight earned the only Medal of Honor awarded to a special-operations Soldier during World War II.
The Army’s premier proponent of unconventional warfare, SF traces its historical roots from the elite Army formations of World War II and the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS.
The OSS was formed in World War II to gather strategic intelligence and conduct operations behind enemy lines in support of resistance groups in Europe and the Far East.