General Jonathan M. Wainwright
U. S. Army, Prisoner Of War (POW) and Medal of Honor
Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV was born August 23, 1883 in Walla Walla in Washington State.
On September 1940, promoted to the rank of Major General. In December 1940 promoted to the commander of the Philippine Department and returned to the Philippines and reported to General Douglas MacArthur as the most senior U. S. officer commanding Filipino and U. S. forces.
On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War,
Wainwright commanded the North Luzon Force commanding three reserve Filipino Division plus the 26th Cavalry Regiment "Philippine Scouts". After the Japanese landings on northern Luzon and December 22, 1941 at Lingayen Gulf the forces under his command fell back then withdrew to defend the Bataan Peninsula and offshore islands including Corregidor Island. On March 11, 1942 during the night General Douglas MacArthur was evacuated from the Philippines by order of U. S. President F. D. Roosevelt and Wainwright became the Allied commander in the Philippines. In March 1942 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. On April 9, 1942 Major General Edward P. King surrendered on Bataan. On May 5, 1942 the Japanese made an amphibious landing on Corregidor Island.
On May 6, 1942 Wainwright agreed to surrender due to a lack of supplies including food and ammunition and in the face of a hopeless situation. Before surrendering, he sent a radio message to Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp on Mindanao to appoint him as Allied commander in the Philippines, with the exception of the islands in Manila Bay. Japanese General Homma refused him to surrender anything less than all troops in the Philippines.
After surrendering, Wainwright was the highest ranking U. S. Prisoner Of War (POW) detained by the Japanese. Initially he was detained in POW Camps on Luzon, Formosa (Taiwan) and Xi'an (Liaoyuan) in Manchuria. In August 1945 during "Operation August Storm", he was liberated by the Red Army and was thin and malnourished from his time in captivity and maltreatment.
On September 2, 1945 Wainwright and Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival both former Prisoners Of War (POW) who were special guest at the ceremony to observe the official surrender of Japan aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Afterwards, he was flown back to the Philippines. On September 3, 1945 Wainwright attended the official surrender ceremony where General Tomoyuki Yamashita surrendered all Japanese forces in the Philippines inside the U. S. Ambassador's Residence at Camp John Hay.
Medal of Honor
On September 5, 1945 promoted to a four-star General and was flown back to the United States to visit the White House, unaware he would be presented the Medal of Honor. On September 10, 1945 in a surprise ceremony at the White House, U. S. President Harry S. Truman, bestowed him with the Medal of Honor. During 1942, Wainwright was considered for the award but General Douglas MacArthur vehement opposition the nomination feeling he should not have surrendered, but did not oppose his nomination in 1945.
Medal of Honor Citation (Wash. G.O. No.: 80 19 September 1945)
Citation: "Distinguished himself by intrepid and determined leadership against greatly superior enemy forces. At the repeated risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in his position, he frequented the firing line of his troops where his presence provided the example and incentive that helped make the gallant efforts of these men possible. The final stand on beleaguered Corregidor, for which he was in an important measure personally responsible, commanded the admiration of the Nation's allies. It reflected the high morale of American arms in the face of overwhelming odds. His courage and resolution were a vitally needed inspiration to the then sorely pressed freedom-loving peoples of the world."
Fold3 - Jonathan M Wainwright
US Dept of Defense - Medal of Honor Monday: Army Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright Sept 2, 2019
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