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World War II Veteran: Galen Kittleson
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Twenty-year-old Galen Kittleson from St. Ansgar was stationed in the Philippines as part of an elite unit called the Alamo Scouts. The Scouts were made up of small highly trained units that operated behind Japanese battle lines gathering information about enemy forces. Kittleson's unit was selected to carry out reconnaissance on the Cabanatuan prison camp in anticipation of a rescue attempt. The camp was 30 miles behind enemy lines.
(Galen Kittleson) I was really the first one to see it, but it was across an open field, too, because the Japanese had those prisoners growing stuff out there for the camp.
With members of the 6th Ranger Battalion, an attack was planned, and on January 30, 1945, as the sun went down, the battle began.
(Galen Kittleson) And when we got to—right close to the fence, a gong started going and we thought, my God, they know we're here. But it was sailors in that POWs that each night they'd run the 8:00, 7:00, you know, like we do in ships.
(Galen Kittleson) I know it was noisy as all heck right when they attacked it, of course, because the Rangers really done a super job. They got that gate open and those suckers really poured in there. I didn't fire a round there. I didn't have to. My job was to get those prisoners to the river, so I did that. Sometimes you had to almost grab a hold of them to keep them going the right direction, but they got there.
PFC Kittleson was awarded a Bronze Star for his participation in the raid.
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