During April 1943, Lt. Col. Courtney Whitney made a tour of the First and Second Filipino Infantry Regiments then training in the United States at Camp Beale and Camp Cooke, in California ( now known as Beale AFB and Vandenburg AFB respectively). 

Whitney picked 700 men to be trained in Australia for secret missions behind Japanese lines in the Philippines. They were to become known as "Mission Men". 

The selected personnel were sent to the Allied Intelligence Bureau's secret camp known as Camp "X" or Camp Tabragalba, near Beaudesert south of Brisbane in southern Queensland. The first group of these men arrived in Australia on 11 May 1943.

On 8 October 1943, the 5217 Reconnaissance Battalion (Provisional) was formed by authority of General Orders #58 Hq USAFFE APO 510, 1943.

The 5217th Rcn Bn (Prov) included:-

- Hq Co
- Hq & Service Co
- 5218th Rcn Co (Prov)

978th Signal Service Company, which was considered the "heart of the 5217th', was placed on attached status to the 5217th Reconnaissance Battalion for administration purposes.

On 20 November 1944  the 5217th was disbanded and the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (Special) was activated at Hollandia, in New Guinea.

On 7 June 1944, a four man Weather Team of the 1st Rcn Bn Sp Trs. left Camp Tabragalba and headed for Darwin where they boarded the US Navy submarine USS Narwhal (SS167) the following day. They arrived off Panay in the Philippines on 20 June 1944. They surfaced off the coast near a small town and met up with some local guerrillas led by Lt. Col. Cerilo Garcia to unload their 50 tons of cargo. The four man team went ashore to complete their mission.

On 15 August 1945  the 1st Rcn Bn (Special) was disbanded in Manila


Subject:   AUS Knife Manufacturers during WWII
Date:           Sat, 13 Apr 2002 21:44:22 -0500
From:          "Hendrix Troy" <troy@hendrix.biz>

Perhaps you my know the name of the Australian knife manufacturer that made all the Machetes for the Japanese Army before America declared war against Japan. I have also heard that the same company made some custom knives for some of MacArthur's scouts during the war. Have you ever heard about this knife maker? I know there were numerous knife makers back then.


Can anyone help with the name of the knife manufacturer?


I have heard of a small group of US servicemen, I've heard called "MacArthur's Scouts" or "MacArthur's SS". This name may be wrong, but the purpose of these men were to carry out scouting, pathfinder and demolition missions directly for MacArthur. They were similar to the Alamo Scouts for Gen. Krueger but they were very secret, work only for MacArthur and other servicemen didn't ever know who they worked for. I have heard of instances where these men were used but they never were called a name. Where multiple accounts of an event happen they often get discounted as just Filipino Army, but more often are call Guerillas. I know that a man under MacArthur sent from the SWPA, recruited some (up to 30) men for the special missions. They were trained in para trooping, sharpshooting, jujitsu, demolition, frogmen and scouting. (was this the 5217th? or another unit?)

This may sound like its crazy but I am sure there is someone I looking for but I don't know who could this group of men worked for. My question, if you are still interested, what was the structure in place under MacArthur to accommodate such a unit? (I know about Ultra, CBI, OSS, but who did these recon, scout missions for MAC?)

Thanks for your time. If you have any idea about what I am talking about and can give me some guidance I would appreciate it. I can offer some details but there are missing gaps.

Troy Hendrix


Philippine Regional Section
GHQ, SWPA, Brisbane


Can anyone help me with more information?


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I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 30 November 2002

This page last updated 17 January 2020