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The FReeper Foxhole Profiles General Jonathan Wainwright - Apr 19th, 2004 ^

Posted on 04/19/2004 12:00:01 AM PDT by SAMWolf


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General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV
(1883 - 1953)


Jonathan Wainwright was born the son of a cavalry officer and a descendant in a line of distinguished U. S. Naval officers on August 23, 1883 at Fort Walla Walla, Washington Territory.

His father, Robert, commanded a squadron in the Battle of Santiago during the Spanish American War and died in 1901 while serving in the suppression of the Philippine Insurrection. A year later, Wainwright was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Wainwright received his commission in 1906 and began his career with the 1st Cavalry Regiment in Texas. The 1st was sent to the Philippines in 1908 as part of an expedition sent to quell the Moro uprising on the island of Jolo. Wainwright participated in the St.Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives towards the end of World War I. Following the Armistice, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff with the Army of Occupation in Koblenz, Germany and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his work in that capacity. The years between the wars were spent in postgraduate studies and training commands.

He graduated from the Mounted Service School, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1916. Promoted to Captain, and in 1917 was on staff of the first officers training camp at Plattsburg, New York. In February 1918 he was ordered to France. In June he became Assistant Chief-of-Staff of the 82nd Infantry Division, with which he took part in Saint Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. Promoted to temporary Lieutenant Colonel in October he was assigned to occupation duty in Germany with the 3rd Army until 1920, in which year, having reverted to Captain, he was promoted to Major.

After a year as an instructor at the renamed Cavalry School at Fort Riley, he was attached to the General Staff during 1921-23 and assigned to the 3rd Cavalry, Fort Myer, Virginia, 1923-25. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1929 and graduated from the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1931, and the Army War College in 1934. He was promoted to Colonel in 1935, and commanded the 3rd Cavalry until 1938, when he was advanced to Brigadier General in command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade at Fort Clark, Texas. In September 1940, he was promoted to temporary Major General and returned to the Philippines to take command of the Philippine Division. that began in late December 1941.

Wainwright had little inkling of what future held. The war in Europe was already raging and he feared "that something might break over here and there he would be stuck in the Philippines missing everything." He was commanding American and Filipino troops in northern Luzon when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941. Wainwright commanded from the front and his skillful series of holding actions helped to make the American stand on Bataan possible. On February 7, 1942 General MacArthur decorated him with the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism.

Surrender on Bataan

General Douglas MacArthur the overall commander of forces in the Philippines was ordered to leave for Australia on March 11, 1942. Wainwright succeeded him as commander of all American and Filipino forces on Bataan and was promoted to lieutenant general. As the senior field commander of US and Filipino forces, he had tactical responsibility for resisting the Japanese invasion. Pushed back from beachheads in Lingayen Gulf, his Philippine forces withdrew onto the Bataan Peninsula, where they occupied well prepared defensive positions and commanded the entrance to Manila Bay. In throwing back a major Japanese assault in January, the defenders earned name of "battling bastards of Bataan." When MacArthur was ordered off Bataan in March 1942, Wainwright, promoted to temporary Lieutenant General, succeeded to command of US Army Forces in the Far East, a command immediately afterward reassigned US Forces in the Philippines. The Japanese attacks resumed in earnest in April.

The Japanese high command issued an ultimatum on March 22nd urging the defenders of Bataan to surrender in the name of humanity. Continuous air bombardment was followed by two human wave assaults which were repulsed but the defenders were running low on supplies and morale.

Bataan fell on April 9, 1942. President Roosevelt authorized Wainwright to continue the fight or make terms as he saw fit. Wainwright chose to continue the battle from Corregidor despite the urgings of some that he leave. "I have been one of the battling bastards of Bataan and I’ll play the same role on the rock as long as it is humanly possible. I have been with my men from the start, and if captured I will share their lot. We have been through so much together that my conscience would not let me leave before the final curtain."

General Wainwright at Celilo
November 15, 1945

Wainwright and 11,000 survivors held on in the tunnels beneath the rock for another month deprived of food, sleep or hope of relief. On May 5th Wainwright wrote MacArthur, "As I write this we are being subjected to terrific air and artillery bombardment and it is unreasonable to expect that we can hold out for long. We have done our best, both here and on Bataan, and although we are beaten we are still unashamed." The Japanese began landing on the island that night and at noon the next day Wainwright called for terms. General Homma insisted that Wainwright surrender all remaining American and Filipino forces or risk the annihilation of his troops on Corregidor. At noon on May 6, 1942, General Wainwright surrendered to Japanese General Homma. A historian of the Civil War, Wainwright later said of that moment, "Suddenly, I knew how Lee felt after Appomattox.

General Wainwright spent the next three years in Japanese prison camps in the Philippines, China and Formosa (Taiwan). The man who was known to his friends as Skinny was found alive in a Japanese prison camp in Manchuria. He emerged from captivity little more than a skeleton. General Wainwright liberation allowed him to travel and attend the Japanese surrender ceremonies aboard USS Missouri (left) in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, after which he returned to the Philippines to receive the surrender of the local Japanese commander. After a short stop at Fort Shafter in Hawaii to receive his fourth star from General Robert C. Richardson Jr., he then flew home to the United States, where he received a hero's welcome and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

General Wainwright commander the Fourth U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston from January 1946 until his retirement from the Army in August 1947. The general passed away in San Antonio, Texas on September 3 1953 and is buried at Arlington Nation Cemetary.

KEYWORDS: bataan; biography; freeperfoxhole; generalmacarthur; generalwainwright; japan; philippines; veterans
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A Tale of Two Generals

It has been said that "If you have ONE child you are a PARENT...TWO (or more) and you are a REFEREE." Sibling rivalries are common in any family, and the family of America's veterans is no different. The term "Brotherhood" does not indicate that all is peaceful and calm or that there is an absence of disagreement. Brothers have been known to argue, feud, even fight each other. But brotherhood is a bond that is greater than the "family feuds" that erupt from time to time, and sooner or later brothers make up and get on with being brothers.

Generals Wainwright (left) and MacArthur

General George Armstrong Custer was so envious of his younger brother's TWO Medals of Honor, earned during the Civil War, that it caused some real tension. There are even reports that on at least one occasion when the younger showed up at a social event wearing BOTH medals, the two went outside and engaged in fisticuffs. But the sense of brotherhood between the two was stronger than their sibling rivalry. Thomas Custer always loved the older brother and the two served together through several campaigns in the West. Eventually, the two brothers died together at the infamous Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright were as similar, yet individually different, as any two "flesh and blood" brothers. Both were the sons of military families. MacArthur's father Arthur was the hero who received the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Wainwright's father also was a career officer who had at one point even served under Arthur MacArthur's command.

Douglas MacArthur graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point at the head of his class in 1903. Three years later Jonathan Wainwright graduated from the same school with its highest honor, first captain of cadets. Both served in World War I, MacArthur leading the 84th Infantry Brigade and earning the Distinguished Service Medal and SIX Silver Stars. Wainwright saw less combat as a staff officer, though he became known for his frequent visits to the troops on the front lines. Wainwright also received the Distinguished Service Medal.

General Jonathan Wainwright

Both men were generals in the US Army and serving in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. The months that followed and the differences in personality between the two would strain their brotherhood. Both would emerge historic figures, Douglas MacArthur characterized by historian/author William Manchester as the "American Caesar", Jonathan Wainwright remembered by his troops as "The Last of the Fighting Generals".

General MacArthur looked up from his desk at the tall, hard-bitten Cavalry general. The latter had always looked thin, hence the nickname "Skinny", first used when he had been a West Point cadet. The moniker had followed him through a 40 year military career. General Wainwright looked especially skinny now, after months of reduced rations. General Wainwright was commander of the North Luzon force in the Philippine Islands. General MacArthur had summoned him to the island fortress at Corregidor for an important meeting. The battle was not going well on the most important of the Philippine Islands. And things were about to get worse.

General Douglas MacArthur

The Philippine Islands consisted of more than 7000 small islands in the South China Sea. Only a third of the islands were inhabited. The Island of Luzon in the north is the largest of the islands. Measuring a little over 40,000 square miles, it is about the same size as our state of Ohio. Manila Bay in the south-west part of the island is one of the world's finest harbors, bordered on the east by Manila, the Philippine Capitol City. Luzon had been "home" to General MacArthur off and on for many years, dating back to the days when his father had been military governor. As a promising West Point graduate, Douglas MacArthur's first assignment had been with an engineer unit in the Philippines, and it was here during that tour of duty he had first tasted combat.

As the Japanese began their aggression for control of the Pacific, the Philippine Islands were key to their plans. Eight hours after the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, they attacked and virtually destroyed the American Air Force at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Two days later they began landing troops on beaches in the northern part of the Island.

War Plan "Orange No. 3"

The Japanese threat to the Philippines had been recognized twenty years earlier, and a war plan for the defense of the Philippines was written in 1928. Known as "Orange No. 3" or "WPO-3", the defense of the islands called for a "tactical delay" of the invading enemy. Rather than battling the enemy throughout the island, if they could not defeat the invaders at their point of landing, the army would pull back to the peninsula of Bataan at the opening of Manila Bay. There they would delay the enemy for up to six months until reinforcements could be brought in to end the siege.

Mid-way in the opening of Manila Bay is the tadpole-shaped, rocky island of Corregidor. Less than 2 square miles in size, the island had been a fortress for many years. At the beginning of World War II it garrisoned soldiers to man artillery that could support the defense of Bataan should it ever be necessary to implement Orange No. 3. Initially, General MacArthur attempted to have his American soldiers and Philippine Scouts meet and defeat the invading Japanese as they landed on the island's northern beaches. Most of these were soldiers under the command of General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, at the age of 59 one of the oldest active generals in the United States army.

General Wainwright's Philippine Scouts fought courageously, but on December 22nd hope began to vanish. Japanese Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma waded ashore at Lingayen Gulf, just north of the Bataan Peninsula. Supported by 80 ships of the Japanese navy and 43,000 fresh troops, the Philippine Scouts were doomed. General MacArthur implemented Orange No. 3 and on December 26 he declared the Capitol of Manila to be an open city and abandoned it to the Japanese. As the American and Philippine forces began their withdrawal to Bataan, MacArthur set up his command post on the island of Corregidor. MacArthur moved his tactical operations into the quarter-mile long Malinta Tunnel. It was from there he began to direct the "delaying action" that would keep the enemy at bay until supplies and reinforcements could arrive from the United States. It was a wasted effort, for reinforcement of the valiant defenders wasn't even a part of the military war plan.

War Plan "ABC-1"

Ten months before the attack at Pearl Harbor, British and American military tacticians had established a war plan known as "ABC-1". The agreement between the two nations specified that, in the event that there would be hostilities on two fronts involving both the Germans and the Japanese, both Allied powers would concentrate most of their military resources on defending Europe. Of course, the brave men fighting hunger, disease and starvation in the dense jungles of the Philippines were not aware of ABC-1. For this reason they believed President Roosevelt when he gave his year-end speech promising "the entire resources of the United States" would be committed to defending the Philippine Islands.

Life in Malinta Tunnel

Two days later the Japanese took control of Manila. Meanwhile, more than 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers had withdrawn to the 500 square mile Bataan peninsula to maintain the delaying defense called for in Orange No. 3. Across the island the Philippine Scouts, many of whom were not aware of Orange No. 1, continued to battle the enemy. It was a brave effort, many of them fighting with outdated World War I British Enfield rifles. Ammunition began to run out, food was in short supply, and disease depleted their ranks. But they, along with their brothers at Bataan stubbornly held out, anxiously awaiting the resources of the United States that had been promised by the President. Amazingly the soldiers stopped the Japanese advance at the Abucay line, and held it for 12 days. Then, on February 8th, General Homma received an infusion of fresh troops from Tokyo. For the Americans and Filipinos there were no fresh troops, no resupply. When Singapore fell on February 15, 1942 it was becoming apparent to the Philippine defenders that the United States would be sending no reinforcements. They were expendable.

Meanwhile, General MacArthur had received word from Washington that he should hold out against the Japanese as long as possible, then capitulation was permissible. MacArthur was livid. He had no intention of surrendering to the Japanese, had resolved himself to die in the defense of the Philippines. On February 22, General MacArthur said goodbye to Philippine President Manuel Quezon. As the popular President reluctantly boarded the submarine Swordfish to be evacuated to Australia, he removed his signet ring and placed it on MacArthur's finger. "When they find your body," he told his old friend, "I want them to know that you fought for my country." Remaining on the island with the General was his wife and 3-year old son. In the hold of the Swordfish were their personal effects with instructions for them to be held until claimed by the MacArthur's legal heirs.

Surrender on Bataan

Even as the Swordfish slipped out of Manila Bay to preserve the Philippine Presidency, President Roosevelt was pondering the impact on the National morale should the most decorated hero of World War One be killed or captured by the Japanese. The following day the Commander In Chief ordered General MacArthur to escape to the southern island of Mindanao, then from there to find asylum in Australia. As a United States Army officer, it was an order he could not refuse. As a patriot who loved the Philippine Islands, it was also an order that went against everything in which he believed. Finally the 62-year old, 4-star general decided to resign. He would leave Corregidor, but not as a retreating general going to Australia. Instead, as a civilian, he would make the brief boat ride from "The Rock" to Bataan and enlist as a volunteer in its defense.

In the days that followed, MacArthur's chief of staff, Major General Richard K. Sutherland convinced the General that the President was right. He argued that there were rumors that a Philippine relief force was being established in Australia, and that the President had ordered MacArthur to Australia to build and lead that force back to the Islands to defeat the Japanese. The concept was reinforced by a telegram from Washington urging the General that "The situation in Australia indicates desirability of your early arrival there." MacArthur responded that he would, reluctantly, depart Corregidor on March 15th.

Meanwhile, the Japanese suspected that an attempt would be made to evacuate the Philippine commander from the area, and they too realized the propaganda potential for his death or capture. They increased their patrols in the South China Sea, virtually unopposed for the US Pacific Fleet was still rebuilding from the devastation at Pearl Harbor. A full Japanese destroyer division was dispatched towards Manila Bay to prevent any evacuation of the general. The time table had to be accelerated, and the only craft available to transport MacArthur and his family from Corregidor were four aging PT boats under the leadership of Lieutenant John Bulkeley. (Lieutenant Bulkeley would later receive the Medal of Honor for his heroic defense of the Philippines from December 7, 1941 to April 10, 1942.) Bulkeley and his PT boats would break out of Luzon as the sun went down on March 11th, taking with them General MacArthur. The Naval officers at Corregidor who were aware of the plan believed the General had about 1 chance in 5 of getting out successfully, and alive.
1 posted on 04/19/2004 12:00:02 AM PDT by SAMWolf
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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; Johnny Gage; Victoria Delsoul; Darksheare; Valin; bentfeather; radu; ..
From the devastating attack that destroyed Clark Air Field eight hours after Pearl Harbor until March 11th, General Douglas MacArthur had encouraged the valiant defenders that if they could just hold on, reinforcements would be coming from the United States. For 90 days Philippine Scouts and American soldiers, despite disease, a shortage of food, lack of ammunition, obsolete and malfunctioning military hardware, and hostile jungle terrain had battled the well supplied invading Japanese. Manila had been sacrificed and 68,000 Filipinos, supported by nearly 12,000 American soldiers, had fallen back to the peninsula of Bataan to stall the Japanese war plans to break and enslave the Philippine Islands.

Propoganda given to battle weary soldiers encouraging surrender

It was becoming increasingly apparent that, despite the promises of the American President, there would be no relief force for the Philippine Islands. They were expendable. The idea was further fostered by Japanese propaganda radio whose theme song taunted the defenders. The song was titled:

I'm Waiting for Ships that Never Come In

March 11, 1942

"Jonathan, I want you to make it known throughout your command that I'm leaving over my repeated protests." General MacArthur said as he looked up at General Jonathan Wainwright. The tall, emaciated General the defenders of Bataan called "Skinny" promised that he would do just that. Douglas MacArthur had chosen his replacement in the Philippines. His Academy brother would assume command of all the Philippine troops upon MacArthur's departure. Wainwright would command from the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor, while Major General Edward King would replace him as commander of the American Forces and Philippine Scouts defending Bataan. "Goodbye Jonathan," MacArthur continued. "When I get back, if you're still on Bataan, I'll make you a lieutenant general."

"I'll be on Bataan....if I'm still alive," Wainwright replied.

The Meeting of Wainwright and Homma

As darkness fell over the South China Sea, Lieutenant Bulkeley slipped out of Corregidor in PT-41 to make the dangerous journey through waters controlled by the Japanese. It was a daring mission to ferry an American legend and hero out of harm's way. Through 560 miles of dangerous ocean and a near brush with a Japanese destroyer, General MacArthur arrived safely on the southern island of Mindanao on the morning of Friday, the 13th of March. Four days later the General arrived in Australia. It was there that he issued the statement that contained one of his two most famous lines:

"The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary object of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through...and... I Shall Return."

To the Filipino people, MacArthur was a hero. Through the dark years ahead they believed that, as he had promised, he would return. But the enemy powers sought to portray MacArthur differently. From Germany and Italy to Japan he was labeled in the media as a coward, a deserter, and the "fleeing general". MacArthur had been ordered out of Corregidor because the President was concerned about the negative impact his death or capture would have on the American public during the critical first year of the war. To counter the propaganda of the enemy, General George C. Marshall suggested awarding MacArthur the Medal of Honor. The President agreed, and the same award his father had received 80 years earlier was presented to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia on June 30, 1942. (Arthur and Douglas MacArthur became the only father and son in history to both receive the Medal of Honor.)

General Wainwright Broadcasting

It is difficult to argue with those who point out that Douglas MacArthur's Medal of Honor was a political move. It is far less difficult to argue the point that it was not deserved. Since his first engagement with Philippine Outlaws after graduating from West Point, MacArthur had proved himself a man of courage. Acts of personal valor in both the Mexican Campaign (Vera Cruz) and during World War I could easily have resulted in a Medal of Honor award. Those historians who would negate his World War II award because it was a political award must also realize that the fact he had not previously been awarded the Medal for other actions was, in MacArthur's mind, political as well.

Back on the Philippine Island of Luzon, the situation continued to deteriorate. The Japanese, despite isolated pockets of resistance by Philippine Scouts scattered throughout the jungles, controlled the island. Their massive army, consisting of two full divisions of well trained combat soldiers supported by two tank regiments, three engineer regiments and several powerful artillery and anti-aircraft batteries, were virtually invincible. The Philippine defenders at Bataan were surrounded and without any support other than artillery fire from Corregidor. General King and his men were combat weary, demoralized by broken promises of resupply, and weakened by malnutrition and disease. Food was so short that the soldiers were reduced to one-fourth the recommended combat ration. Malnutrition made the soldiers even more susceptible to disease, and General King's medical units had virtually no medicines to treat the dying. Disease, exhaustion and malnutrition were beginning to accomplish what tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers had tried for 90 days to achieve. The soldiers on Bataan had survived and resisted far beyond any expectation of human endurance.

The situation at Corregidor was no better. Here too, the soldiers were weary, wounded, malnourished and diseased. From the Malinta Tunnel General Wainwright did his best to direct the tactical aspects of the resistance. Unlike MacArthur, who had only once left the tunnel to visit troops on Bataan, "Skinny" made frequent visits to the peninsula to check on the status of his men...and to fight Japanese. In the months preceding his promotion to command of all forces in the Philippines, Wainwright had not only commanded the Philippine Scouts in I Corps, he had fought with them. On more than one occasion he had come under direct fire from enemy soldiers, watched men next to him die, and returned fire on the enemy. He was a unique kind of commander, perhaps indeed, the "Last of the Fighting Generals".

On April 9, 1942 the Japanese landed 50,000 fresh combat troops on the Island. Wainwright issued orders to General King to resist by all means. General King responded that he and his staff had determined his force was reduced to 30% of their efficiency. General Wainwright continued to order not only resistance, but ordered a counter-attack to repel the new Japanese offensive. It was not to be. With less than two days rations remaining, his troops paralyzed by exhaustion and disease, further resistance to the fresh Japanese offensive would have resulted in the slaughter of his beleaguered command. On April 9th General King surrendered, and Bataan fell to the Japanese.

The Bataan Death March

Most of the Philippine defenders were located near the southern Bataan city of Mariveles. Here the Japanese assembled their prisoners for the 55-mile march from Mariveles to the rail town of San Fernando. Here as many as 100 prisoners were loaded into box cars measuring 8 x 40 feet, and taken 24 miles to Capas, Tarlac. The deadly trip culminated with the 6-mile march to the infamous Camp O'Donnell.

Hands bound, wounds untreated, sick and malnourished to the point where many could not even stand, the trek became known as the "Bataan Death March". More than 76,000 Philippine defenders, including 12,000 American soldiers, became prisoners with the surrender on April 9th. On the death march to Camp O'Donnell the Japanese beheaded many who became too weak to continue the trip. Other prisoners were used for bayonet practice, or pushed to their deaths from cliffs to amuse their captors with their screams. Young Philippine girls were pulled to the side of the road and repeatedly raped. Heartbroken mothers were known to spread human feces on their daughter's faces to make them less desirable to the enemy.

The route of the Bataan Death March. It started at Mariveles at the tip of the Bataan Peninsula and went 65 miles to the rail head at San Fernando where the prisoners were crammed into metal boxcars for the journey to Camp O'Donnell.

Actually, there was not one Death March, but a series of death marches that began with the surrender on April 9th and continued until April 24th. During the period there was a steady stream of American and Philippine P.O.W.s making the 5-10 day trip to Camp O'Donnell. Of the 80,000 defenders of Bataan, it is estimated that as many as 20, in four...died on the infamous death march. (In the two months that followed it is estimated that as many as 1,500 Americans and 25,000 more Filipinos died at Camp O'Donnell.)

With Bataan now under Japanese control, the enemy turned their full attention to "The Rock". General Wainwright and his 26,000 troops at Corregidor were the last organized resistance on Luzon. In all, more than 400 fighter plane and bombing attacks were launched against the 2 square mile island. For almost a month, while the Japanese continued their wholesale slaughter of Bataan's valiant defenders during their infamous death march, Corregidor held. By May 6th the Philippine defenders had continued to fight the delaying action called for in Orange No. 3 for the full six month period determined necessary for resupply and reinforcement. The defenders had done their part, but now they knew there would be no resupply or reinforcement.

65 miles of hell. This is a picture of the prisoners on the Death March. The guards were changed every three hours but the men were allowed little, if any, rest.

For long days and lonely nights, General Jonathan Wainwright had struggled to determine in his mind the best course of action. He was proud of his men and they had come to love, admire, and obey him. Finally, on the morning of May 6th he notified them of his decision. "With broken heart and with head bowed in sadness, but not in shame," he told his soldiers, today I must arrange terms for the surrender." At 10:15 A.M. he sent the last message from Corregidor to President Roosevelt. He told the President:

"There is a limit of human endurance and that limit has long since been passed. With out prospect of relief, I feel it is my duty to my Country, and to my gallant troops, to end this useless effusion of blood and human sacrifice. With profound regret and continued pride in my gallant troops, I go to meet the Japanese commander. Goodbye, Mr. President."

At exactly noon on May 6, 1942, General Jonathan M. Wainwright surrendered to Japanese General Homma. A historian of the Civil War, Wainwright later said of that moment, "Suddenly, I knew how Lee felt after Appomattox.

The defenders from Corregidor were not marched north through Bataan. Instead the Japanese shipped them across the bay to Manila where they were paraded in disgrace as a display of the Japanese superiority. As a final humiliation for General Wainwright, he was forced to march through his defeated soldiers. Despite their wounds, their illness, their broken spirit and shattered bodies, as the General passed among their ranks they struggled to their feet. It was their last show of respect for the last of the fighting generals.

American propaganda poster "American Vengeance" remembers the defenders of Bataan.

In Australia, General MacArthur was furious. In his own mind he had initially resolved to die fighting to defend the Philippines. The man he had selected to complete that mission when he had been ordered to leave Corregidor had let him down. On July 30, 1942 General George C. Marshall proposed that a Medal of Honor be awarded to the last of the fighting generals. It prompted an act of resistance to a Medal of Honor award, unprecedented in the Medal's history. General MacArthur wrote, in part:

The citation proposed does not represent the truth....As a relative matter award of the Medal of Honor to General Wainwright would be a grave injustice to a number of general officers of practically equally responsible positions who not only distinguished themselves by fully as great personal gallantry thereby earning the DSC but exhibited powers of leadership and inspiration to a degree greatly superior to that of General Wainwright thereby contributing much more to the stability of the command and to the successful conduct of the campaign. It would be a grave mistake which later on might well lead to embarrassing repercussions to make this award.

General Wainwright salutes General MacArthur at the signing ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.

MacArthur's vehement opposition to Wainwright's proposed award both surprised and stunned General Marshall. He withdrew the recommendation, and while General MacArthur prepared to keep his promise to return to the Philippines, General Wainwright was left to suffer alone in a Japanese prison camp.

During his more than three years of captivity, General Wainwright suffered deprivation, humiliation, abuse and torture at the hands of the Japanese. In his own mind he feared the moment of his return, sure that he would be considered a coward and a traitor for his surrender at Corregidor. He knew nothing of the award that had been proposed, then shelved because of MacArthur's scathing objections. Throughout the period he struggled to survive. General Jonathan Mayhew Wainright was the highest ranking American prisoner of war in World War II, and celebrating his 60th birthday in a POW camp in Manchuria, he was also one of the oldest.

Medal of Honor Presented to General Wainwright
By President Harry S. Truman in the Whitehouse Rose Garden

On October 25, 1944 General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore at Leyte to announce, "People of the Philippines, I have returned." Almost a year of bitter fighting remained for Allied forces in the Pacific. Then, on August 6, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. On August 14 the Japanese announced that they would surrender. The final documents of surrender would be signed in Tokyo Harbor on September 2nd. General MacArthur would preside over the historic event and sign on behalf of the President of the United States.

On August 19 General Wainwright learned that the war had ended. He would finally be going home. He was flown first to Yokohama, where he arrived looking tired and gaunt on August 31st. Despite his earlier disappointment at the surrender at Corregidor, it was General Douglas MacArthur who met him. The two embraced as cameras caught the historic moment.

On September 2nd General MacArthur boarded the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor to meet the Japanese. On the table before him were the documents of surrender and several fountain pens with which he would sign. As he approached the table he spoke into the microphone, "Will General Wainwright and General Percival step forward and accompany me while I sign." It was a special tribute by MacArthur to the last of the fighting generals. Looking gaunt and weak, Wainwright proudly stood at rigid attention next to the British general Percival.

When the moment arrived to sign counter-sign the historic documents, MacArthur picked up the first fountain pen and scribbled his signature. Then he turned and handed that first pen to General Jonathan Wainwright. Skinny later said it was a "wholly unexpected and very great gift."

Promoted to Lieutenant General, Jonathan Wainwright returned home not to the shame he expected as the commander who had surrendered at Corregidor. Instead he was welcomed with cheers, ticker-tape parades, and an outpouring of love an affection. President Truman sent word that he wanted to meet with the general.

Wainwright and his wife flew into Washington, DC on the morning of September 10th. They were met by General Marshall to escorted them to the White House. There they visited briefly with President Truman in the Oval Office. Suddenly, as if it were an afterthought, the President told General Wainwright, "Let's step outside in the Rose Garden to continue this conversation." The two stood and the President took the General by the arm to escort him outside. General Wainwright was surprised to find the Rose Garden filled with military officials, press reporters, and spectators. His first thought was that the President wanted him to give a speech.

The speech that day, was to be the Presidents, however. As President stepped to the microphone and began to read, it dawned on General Wainwright what was about to happen. When the President had read the citation he turned to the last of the fighting generals and placed the Medal of Honor around his neck. On September 5, General Marshall had revived his recommendation, and the President quickly approved the award. This time there were no objections.

C. Douglas Sterner

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 04/19/2004 12:00:47 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Bet you can't stop reading here <--- I knew it...)
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To: All
General Jonathan Wainright’s last official communication with President Roosevelt:

"For the President of the United States:

It is with broken heart and head bowed in sadness, but not in shame, that I report to Your Excellency that I must go today to arrange terms for the surrender of the fortified islands of Manila Bay: Corregidor (Fort Mills), Caballo (Fort Hughes), El Fraile (Fort Drum), and Carabao (Fort Frank).

With anti-aircraft fire control equipment and many guns destroyed, we are no longer able to prevent accurate aerial bombardment. With numerous batteries of the heaviest caliber employed on the shores of Bataan and Cavite out ranging our remaining guns, the enemy now brings devastating cross fire to bear on us.

Most of my batteries, seacoast, anti-aircraft and field, have been put out of action by the enemy. I have ordered the others destroyed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. In addition we are now overwhelmingly assaulted by Japanese troops on Corregidor. There is a limit of human endurance and that limit has long since been past. Without prospect of relief I feel it is my duty to my country and to my gallant troops to end this useless effusion of blood and human sacrifice.

If you agree, Mr. President, please say to the nation that my troops and I have accomplished all that is humanly possible and that we have upheld the best traditions of the United States and its Army.

May God bless and preserve you and guide you and the nation in the effort to ultimate victory.

With profound regret and with continued pride in my gallant troops I go to meet the Japanese commander.

Good-by Mr. President."

'I can never adequately express my appreciation and gratitude to the people of the United States for their generous understanding of my dire misfortune.'

-- General Wainwright
Tokyo, August 31, 1945

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor



Rank and Organization: General, Commanding U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines.
Place and Date: Philippine Islands, 12 March to 7 May 1942.
Entered Service at: Skaneateles, N.Y.
Birth: Walla Walla, Wash.
G.O. No.: 80, 19 September 1945.


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.

3 posted on 04/19/2004 12:01:10 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Bet you can't stop reading here <--- I knew it...)
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To: All

Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization. The primary area of concern to all VetsCoR members is that our national and local educational systems fall short in teaching students and all American citizens the history and underlying principles on which our Constitutional republic-based system of self-government was founded. VetsCoR members are also very concerned that the Federal government long ago over-stepped its limited authority as clearly specified in the United States Constitution, as well as the Founding Fathers' supporting letters, essays, and other public documents.

Tribute to a Generation - The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004.

Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.

Iraq Homecoming Tips

~ Thanks to our Veterans still serving, at home and abroad. ~ Freepmail to Ragtime Cowgirl | 2/09/04 | FRiend in the USAF

The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul

Click on Hagar for
"The FReeper Foxhole Compiled List of Daily Threads"

4 posted on 04/19/2004 12:01:29 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Bet you can't stop reading here <--- I knew it...)
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To: CarolinaScout; Tax-chick; Don W; Poundstone; Wumpus Hunter; StayAt HomeMother; Ragtime Cowgirl; ...

FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

Good Monday Morning Everyone.

If you would like added to our ping list let us know.

5 posted on 04/19/2004 12:03:49 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All
PDN members and fans. We hope you will consider this simple act of patriotism worth passing on or taking up as a project in your own back yard. In summary:

Who They Are: Operation: Stitches Of Love was started by the Mothers of two United States Marines stationed in Iraq.

What They Are Doing: We are gathering 12.5"x12.5" quilt squares from across the country and assembling the largest quilt ever produced. When completed we will take the quilt from state to state and gather even more squares.

Why They Are Doing This: We are building this quilt to rally support for the Coalition Forces in Iraq and to show the service members that they are not forgotten. We want the world to know Nothing will ever break the stitches that bind us together as a country.

Ideas to start a local project:

Obtain enough Red, White and Blue material (cloth) for a 12.5 x 12.5 quilt square.
If you have someone in your family that sews, make it a weekend project and invite neighbors to join you.

Consider this tribute as a project for your civic group, scouts, church or townhall group.

Locate an elementary school with an after school program in your neighborhood or locate an after school program in your neighborhood not attached to a school and ask if you could volunteer one or two afternoons and create some squares with the kids.

Invite some VFW posts to share your project in honor of their post.

Send us ( for digital photos of in progress and finished project for various websites, and the media.

PDN is making this appeal in support of Operation: Stitches Of Love

Your friends at PDN

(916) 448-1636

6 posted on 04/19/2004 12:05:30 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Bet you can't stop reading here <--- I knew it...)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good Night, Snippy. Looking forward to seeing the end of "Spartacus" and "Band of Brothers" with you tomorrow. :-)
7 posted on 04/19/2004 12:15:28 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Bet you can't stop reading here <--- I knew it...)
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To: SAMWolf
Good night Sam. Thanks for the good company!
8 posted on 04/19/2004 12:16:17 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
MacArthur's vehement opposition to Wainwright's proposed award both surprised and stunned General Marshall. He withdrew the recommendation, and while General MacArthur prepared to keep his promise to return to the Philippines, General Wainwright was left to suffer alone in a Japanese prison camp.

MacArthur was utterly shameless.

It is difficult to argue with those who point out that Douglas MacArthur's Medal of Honor was a political move. It is far less difficult to argue the point that it was not deserved.

MacArthur made at least two major blunders that kept the Philippines from holding out longer or even repulsing the initial invasion. 1)He left his air force sitting on the ground hours after he knew about Pearl Harbor despite pleas to attack Taiwan. The Japanese were delayed by bad weather at their end, but when did arrive, our air forces were almost completely destroyed on the ground. 2) He initially planned to meet the Japanese at the Linguyan Gulf beachheads and stocked his ammo and supplies with this in mind. Then he retreated almost immediately to Bataan and abandoned a large part of these stocks to capture or destruction.

9 posted on 04/19/2004 12:30:26 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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He left his air force sitting on the ground hours after he knew about Pearl Harbor despite pleas to attack Taiwan. The Japanese were delayed by bad weather at their end, but when did arrive, our air forces were almost completely destroyed on the ground

Morning Gator Navy. Having his Air Force caught on the ground is something I've never been able to understand.

10 posted on 04/19/2004 12:40:53 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Bet you can't stop reading here <--- I knew it...)
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To: SAMWolf
IIRC, he had the largest single force of B-17s available anywhere at that time.
11 posted on 04/19/2004 12:48:20 AM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: SAMWolf
I read an article about Gen. Wainwright, and it said he was 6' 4" and weighed less than 100 lbs. when released from captivity. The article also said it was to Gen. Wainwright that the Japanese surrendered their swords. Do you know if this (surrendering their swords to him) is true?
12 posted on 04/19/2004 1:36:13 AM PDT by Humal
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To: snippy_about_it
GGod morning Snippy and happy Patriot's Day to you and everyone here at the Freeper Canteen.
13 posted on 04/19/2004 3:03:44 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Humal
Sam, I read an article about Gen. Wainwright, and it said he was 6' 4" and weighed less than 100 lbs. when released from captivity. The article also said it was to Gen. Wainwright that the Japanese surrendered their swords. Do you know if this (surrendering their swords to him) is true?

General Wainwright's personal weapons, including some of the Japanese swords surrendered to him by the Japanese [some of which are historical family heirlooms going back hundreds of years] can be seen in the U.S. Army Cavalry museum at Ft. Riley, Kansas, located in the castle-like stone former post headquarters building.

He's still regarded by his fellow soldiers and cavalrymen as an example of stubborn determination and personal devotion to the troops under his command.

14 posted on 04/19/2004 4:39:16 AM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. -Romans 12:2

O Lord, You see what's in my heart-
There's nothing hid from You;
So help me live the kind of life
That's loving, kind, and true.

Beautiful character begins in the heart.

15 posted on 04/19/2004 4:41:23 AM PDT by The Mayor (Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Professional Engineer; radu; All

Good morning everyone.

16 posted on 04/19/2004 6:00:33 AM PDT by Soaring Feather (~The Dragon Flies' Lair~ Poetry and Prose~)
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To: archy
Thank you. Gen. Wainwright was an inspiration for every person.
17 posted on 04/19/2004 6:22:02 AM PDT by Humal
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To: bentfeather
Gooood Moooorrrrnnning FReerepublic!

18 posted on 04/19/2004 6:38:14 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (France: fighting for international irrelevance for more than 200 years.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Howdy ma'am
19 posted on 04/19/2004 6:38:41 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (France: fighting for international irrelevance for more than 200 years.)
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To: SAMWolf
Hiya Sam
20 posted on 04/19/2004 6:41:17 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (France: fighting for international irrelevance for more than 200 years.)
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