Information about veterans of the Second World War in the Pacific, including friends and family.
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Dear All: A late cousin, Robert Harrell, an electrician from Wisconsin, and later founder of Bay Electronics, San Francisco, and a leader in the California Civil Air Patrol, spent the war in one of the strangest, most dangerous secret units I've ever heard of. A hybrid organization of skilled electronics experts from all the allied countries, they snooped on local, uncoded Japanese radio traffic, often landing in rubber boats launched from subs, onto enemy stronghold islands such as Truk. Their missions were to listen without getting caught, not to attack anything, and the information they gleaned helped the high commands decide which islands to avoid or invade. Harrell went on several missions himself till he was wounded, and went on to become a trainer, operations leader and recruiter for this group. Most of these missions failed to make it back to the subs, he said, likely drowned in wind and waves, and several teams were known to have been killed or captured. I've never been able to identify this group; they weren't Coast Watchers, Alamo Scouts, JASCO or raiders. Based on Austrialian Peter Dunn's ozatwar.org website, and a letter a California AIB veteran sent me, I believe they may have been one of the many small, secretive units operating under MacArthur's Allied Intelligence Bureau in Australia. Harrell said he and his men ranged the Pacific, from the Aleutians to Guadalcanal. Am wondering if any wrecks of subs or other ships are connected with this group. Any tips will be appreciated.