On 8 Oct 1943, the 5217th Rcn Bn (Prov) was formed by authority of General Orders #58 Hq USAFFE APO 510, 1943

The battalion included:-

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

The 5218th Reconnaissance Company was formed in Australia on 6 November 1943. It was most likely formed at Camp Tabragalba (Camp X) near Beaudesert in southern Queensland. Colonel Lewis Brown III was the commanding officer of the 5218th Reconnaissance Company. I believe Lewis Brown III may have gone on to be the Mayor of San Francisco in later years.

Colonel Lewis Brown and his experienced officers trained the members of the 978th Signal Service Company, a Filipino signals unit at Camp Tabragalba (Camp X). They trained the 978th Filipino radio operators in jungle survival skills and hand to hand fighting techniques required in jungle battlefields.

Almost half the members of the 978th Signal Service Company were smuggled behind Japanese lines in the Philippines by US Navy submarines. Some of these missions left from the US Navy submarine base in Brisbane. The job of the 978th operatives was to work with the Filipino guerrillas, supply them with weapons, ammunition, medicine, victory money, other essential equipment and to inform the guerrillas and the local inhabitants that General Douglas MacArthur would be returning to the Philippines. Their job was to maintain radio contact with GHQ in Brisbane.


Philippine Regional Section
GHQ, SWPA, Brisbane


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This page first produced 30 November 2002

This page last updated 17 January 2020