Argus Unit 1

Commanding Officer – Lt. Comdr. Ralph A. Jack

Left Port Hueneme – 23 April 1943

Locations: Port Hueneme, CA – Noumea, New Caledonia – Townsville, Australia – Woodlark Island

Campaigns: Operation Chronicle

Known Officers:

Jack, R.A. LtComdr – Metcalf, C.W. Lt – Burton, L.L. Lt – Clemons, L.D. Lt – Freeman, K.A. Lt – Tucker, B.E. Lt – Walker, T.J. Lt – Wilcox, E.D. Lt – Adams, J.T. Lt – Binning, C.D. Lt (jg) – Byrnes, M.A. Lt(jg) – Carmean, C.A. Lt(jg) – Doernberg, J.S. Lt(jg) – Dulevich, N.C. Lt – Fonnessy, J.F. Lt(jg) – Cambrell, M.E. Lt(jg) – Hammell, R. Lt – Johnson, R.E. Lt – McBroom, J.T. Lt(jg) – Peiffer, D.S. Lt(jg) – Peters, H.A. Lt(jg) – Torian, R.B. Lt – Raha, F.R. Ens – Miller, P.G. Ens – Runyon, R.V. Ens – Brand, G.E. Lt(jg) – Knight, C.M. Lt – Shoop, F.W. Lt

Known Enlisted:        

Note:  Rating/Rank as of date of Unit commissioning

Adkins, Estil  S2c – Allen, James W.  S2c – Anderson, Russell K.  S2c –  Arena, Rocco D.  S2c – Aschenbrenner, Donald F.  S2c – Atherton, Dwight L.  S2c – Austin, Wilbur E.  S1c – Bachelder, Ora L.  S2c – Baldwin, Wayne F.  S2c – Barkely, George A. Jr  S2c – Barrow, Bertram A.  S1c – Beaman, Allen A.  S2c – Beekman, Gene E.  S2c – Bender, George A.  RM3c – Best, Charles R.  S2c – Bezold, John A.  S2c – Birba, Clarence  S2 -, Bishara, Charles S.  RM3c – Blanchard, Edmund  S2c – Blanton, Benjamin J.  CRM – Boever, Maurice J.  S2c – Bolt, Marvin J.  S2c – Bone, Alfred E.  S2c – Boylan, John P.  S2c – Bridges, John R.  S2c – Brown, Charles A.  GM3c – Brunnick, Richard CRM3c – Burke, Robert S2c – Butler, Robert H.  S2c – Cabral, Warren A.  S1c  – Campbell, Joseph E.  S2c – Campe, Francis G.  S2c – Carberry, Hobert N.  S2c – Carpenter, Wilbur R.  RM3c – Cassidy, Fred F.  RT2c – Castle, John P.  S2c – Ceasario, Sam P.  S2c – Chaput, Warren R.  S2c – Chidsey, John J.  S2c – Chivas, Stanley J.  S2c – Cofojohn, Herbert  S2c – Colburn, Rolland A.  S2c – Coleman, Carl E.  S2c – Copeland, Frank  S2c – Cordrey, Donald E.  S2c – Cottongim, John E.  S2c – Coulter, James M.  S2c – Counts, Howard S.  S2c – Cox, Chauncey J.  S2c – Cox, Marion S.  EM3c – Crandell, Frederick L.  S2c – Damick, James J.  S2c – Danis, Michael  S2c –  Demasi, James W.  S2c – Derrick, Robert V.  RM3c – Desnoyers, Robert S. unk – DiThomas, Louis T.  RM3c – Doty, Charles W.  RT2c – Drake, John F.  EM3c – DuBois, Frank F.  S2c – Fazio, Edward R.  RM3c – Fischer, Raymond W.  RT1c – Foley, Gerald   RM3c – Foss, Edwin G.  Y3c – Funk, John  Jr.  EM3c – Graef, Miles I.  EM3c – Graham, Charles E.  S2c – Griest, Harold M.  S2c – Guether, Lyle R.  EM3c – Haddad, Edward J.  F1c – Hall, Graydon   RM3c – Keck, Donald L.  EM1c – Kelley, Bert E.  RM3c – King, James L.  RM1c – Langum, Glen J.  Y2c – Lecoeuvre, Earl F.   AS – Lee,  Percy E.  RM3c –  Morgan, George D.  AS – Newman, James B.  S2c – Nickson, Walter   ARM3c – Pinkston, Don E.  RT2c – Poston, Bennie L.  RM3c – Powell, Herbert B.  RT2c – Price, Robert E.  CM3c – Procopio, Emil H.  S2c – Riedell, George D.  S2c – Risdon, Stetson M.  RM3c – Rooney, Paul R.  RT2c – Scallorn, Cecil D.  CRM – Schultz, James W.  RM3c – Silva, Edward J.  RM3c – Skipper, Merl C.  RT2c – Swartzlander, Frank K.  RM1c – Syms, Hugh F.  S2c – Tynen, Edward F.  CRM – Weiss, Harry J.  RM3c – Wessel, Walter A.  ARM2c – Williams, Elbert C.  CM3c – Wright, John H.  RT2c

Additional Known Enlisted:                                                           Date Assigned to Unit 1:

Rating/Rank as of date assigned

Amos, Melbourne R.  S2c                                                                 12-31-1943

Barnes, Mason G.  S2c                                                                     11-1-1943

Beaman, Allen A.  Jr.  S2c                                                                11-1-1943

Bennett, Lacy R.  S2c                                                                       12-1-1943

Bercman, Francis C. Jr.  S2c                                                            12-1-1943

Beverly, Donald F.  S1c                                                                    11-1-1943

Bickers, Lemuel J.  S2c                                                                    11-1-1943

Black, Harold E.  S2c                                                                        11-15-1943

Bradshaw, Lee C.  S2c                                                                     12-1-1943

Britton, Charles W.  S2c                                                                   12-1-1943

Bryant, Walter R.  RM3c                                                                   1-15-1944

Bullard, Douglas J.  S2c                                                                    12-1-1943

Burchfield, Leslie T.  S1c                                                                  10-1-1943

Burt, Charles E.  SC2c                                                                      12-30-1943

Cortor, Francis E.  S1c                                                                      11-1-1943

DeFreest, Donald F.  S2c                                                                 12-1-1943

Elliott, Willard C.  SC1c                                                                     12-1-1943

Forrester, James E.  RT1c                                                               12-1-1943

Gallagher, Francis J. Jr.  EM3c                                                        12-1-1943

Gullickson, Jack G.  SC2c                                                                11-1-1943

Kendrick, Joe W.  S1c                                                                      12-1-1943

Peterson, Thoral L.  F2c                                                                  12-31-1943

Pierce, Benjamin M.  S1c                                                                 12-31-1943

Toth, Stephen A.  S1c                                                                      12-1-1943

Welch, Harold M.  SC2c                                                                   12-30-1943


Argus Unit 1 was commissioned 9 March 1943


The first of its kind, Argus Unit, was formed utilizing navy men, with special qualifications, from all around the country. Argus Units, were designed to land along with the Marines for the purpose of setting up and operating portable and semi-portable radar sets. Each Argus Unit was self-sustaining and could be set up anywhere. The men were gathered together at the main Naval Construction Battalion Base of Port Hueneme, California where they were introduced to specialized radar training. Further training was acquired at Naval Auxiliary Air Station San Clemente under the auspices of the Combat Information Center Training Team. Argus Unit One would he the first of seven units trained at San Clemente. Aircraft for training on radar intercept was provided by VJ-7 with two PBY-5As and twelve SBDs. The unit also received arduous physical training provided by Marine drill instructors. At this point in the war, the total compliment of men was around 60; later Argus Units would number about 125 men with about 25 fighter Director Officers.

Argus Unit One was attached to Acorn 5 and came ashore on Woodlark Island after midnight on June 30, 1943 and struggled in the dark getting their primary portable radar unit unloaded, set up and operating. In fact it would take a few more days and nights before it was completely operational. The original Argus Unit had a SCR 602 lightweight portable radar unit with an antenna turned by hand crank. As the long. slow tension filled night progressed, the sailors were told to dig foxholes on the beach since the possibility of an enemy counterattack existed. The unit was ordered not to move around for fear of being shot by the enemy or trigger-happy sentries. Night finally passed into day for the men ashore. With more and more of the island being consolidated by the marines, the men of Argus Unit One gathered up their equipment and supplies and moved in-land to establish their permanent base of operations. Around their main camp they sited some Browning M-2 water·cooled .50cal anti-aircraft machine guns. These guns were to be used by the sailors in defense against low flying aircraft. In addition to the original SCR-602 radar, two additional SCR-270 radar units and one SCR-268 anti-aircraft radar unit, along with their mobile power and communications vans, were ferried in from Australia. These radars would be needed to complete the entire radar network. They would be hauled up to remote mountaintop sites for optimum performance.

Argus Unit 1 would spend a total of fourteen months overseas, approximately nine months on Woodlark alone. On the 23rd of April 1944 Argus Unit 1 was decommissioned. When the unit left Woodlark for Milne Bay, most of the equipment they had landed with was considered obsolete or in such a badly corroded condition that it was deemed unserviceable and just left behind on the island.

**this  is an excerpt from “Sailor’s Story” by Todd Cabral

another excerpt from “Sailor’s Story” – a personal account of Warren Cabral’s time with Argus Unit #1

“Sailor’s Story” – a personal account   (larger file – slower loading)


Map of Operation Cartwheel - Operation Chronicle area - Woodlark Island is in the lower center of the map

Map of Operation Cartwheel – Operation Chronicle area – Woodlark Island is in the lower center of the map (click on image for a larger view)

map from “The War in the Pacific – CARTWHEEL: THE REDUCTION OF RABAUL”  –US Army Center of Military History


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