The Washington Post, Sunday, March 12, 1944

ALASKAN SCOUTS - (with Photo of T-5 Fuller S Thompson)

Washington Post with Alaskan Scouts.

Ruggen Outdoor ---- Landed from Subs to Chart Aleutian Invasions By Sergt. Georg Meyers (Condensed from Yank, the Army Weekly) p.Headquarter, Alaskan Department (AP).--You can't bring the war in the Aleutians into a bull session up here without someone mentioning the Alaskan scouts. But that's not hard to explain. Scouts led the way.

On the four biggest amphibious operation of the North Pacific campaign--Adak, Amchitka, Attu and Kiska--it was the scouts who, in darkness, first paddled ashore from submarines or destroyers or troop transports to stake out landing beached and locate the enemy.

The scouts are not supermen, and they're not a band of blood-thirsty thugs who eat raw meat.

They're especially adapted to their assignment, sure. But that's because most of them are sourdough trappers and miners and fishermen who know how to get around in Alaska and on the Aleutian chain.

Several of them are Eskimos, Indians or Aleuts. A few more are old-line dogfaces with years of service at the Territory's old Chilkoot barracks.

The Alaskan scouts were born November 19, 1941, at the headquarters of what was then the Alaska defense command when Col. Lawrence Vincent Castner, ADC intelligence chief called a corporal and three privates into his office. He'd gotten authorization to form an Alaskan combat intelligence detachment. "I've picked out you four for a starter," he said.

The men trained 15 hours a day Hardening marched through the snow, sketching and mapmaking, shooting every weapon a man can carry over his shoulder or on his back.

When war came, Colonel Castner got the nod to expand his scouts to a platoon of 24 men and one officer, later to 66 men and two officers.

The original platoon was handpicked from a collection a ruggedly independent characters who probably would have been a pain in the chairknuckle to the commander of any ordinary outfit. Most of them wanted no part of Army routing. But Colonel Castner knew a way to put their woodsmen wiles and hardy attachment to the outdoors to a vital military purpose.

By the time the Japs tried their sneak into Dutch Harbor, the scouts, in small detachments, were already working as intelligence reporters in Kodiak, the Pribilofs, the secret bases at Cold Bay and Umnak and Dutch Harbor.

Their reports on the raiding flights and Japs' tactical maneuvers were called by Colonel Castner "cool, impartial, correct and the best received by ADC intelligence.

When we decided to take Adak, two scout detachments landed on the island, from submarines, at night. Several days later they directed the occupation of Adak by blinker lights from shore with the help of two Navy signalmen and a radio-volunteer.

Before the public back home even knew of the Adak occupation, a detachment was already scouting the next stepping stone, Amchitka.


As soon as the main landing operation there were und ________ scouts advanced to the tip of Amchitka and established

_______________________planes. But in the months between the scouts had their toughest assignment, Attu. Scout reconnaissance group with command training let the infantry patrols ashore at the chosen points of attack Red Beach _____ Massacre Bay on the southern shelf, at Scarlet Beach.

On the march the scouts eat better that anyone else in the Aleutians. They lug along their own side meat for frying grease and use a hip pocket stove to cook up sourdough flapjacks and hamburger form dehydrated beef. They carry all this in addition to ordered field equipment,The biggest difference between the scouts and the other dogfaces is their sacktime conversation. Once in a while they work around to women but only when they weary of their favorite topic--winding snare to trap blue fox.

All the scouts resent the nickname "Castner's Cutthroats." They insist they're just a bunch of peaceable guys who like to be let alone.