About Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, IV
Jonathan Mayhew "Skinny" Wainwright IV (August 23, 1883 – September 2, 1953) was a career American army officer and the commander of Allied forces in the Philippines at the time of their surrender to the Empire of Japan during World War II. Wainwright is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Early life and training
Wainwright was born at Fort Walla Walla, an army post now in Walla Walla, Washington, and was the son of Robert Powell Page Wainwright, a U.S. Army officer who had served as a 2nd Lt in the US 1st Cavalry in 1875, commanded a squadron at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in 1902 was killed in action in the Philippines. His grandfather was Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II. He graduated from Highland Park High School in 1901 and from West Point, in 1906. He served as First Captain of the Corps of Cadets. Wainwright was commissioned in the cavalry. He served with the U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment in Texas from 1906–08 and in the Philippines from 1908–10, where he saw combat on Jolo, during the Moro Rebellion. Wainwright graduated from the Mounted Service School, Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1916 and was promoted to Captain. By 1917 he was on the staff of the first officer training camp at Plattsburgh, New York.
World War I
In February 1918, he was ordered to France, during World War I. In June, he became Assistant Chief-of-Staff of the U.S. 82nd Infantry Division, with which he took part in the Saint Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. As a temporary Lieutenant Colonel, he was assigned to occupation duty in Germany with the 3rd Army at Koblenz, Germany, from October 1918 until 1920. Having reverted to the rank of Captain, he was then promoted to major.
After a year as an instructor at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, he was attached to the General Staff from 1921–23 and assigned to the U.S. 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Fort Myer, Virginia, from 1923–25. In 1929, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and graduated from the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1931, and from the Army War College in 1934. Wainwright was promoted to Colonel in 1935, and served as commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment until 1938, when he was promoted to Brigadier General in command of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment at Fort Clark, Texas.
World War II
In September 1940, Wainwright was promoted to Major General (temporary) and returned to the Philippines, in December, as commander of the Philippine Department. As the senior field commander of Filipino and US forces—under General Douglas MacArthur—Wainwright was responsible for resisting the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, which began in December 1941. Retreating from the Japanese beachhead of Lingayen Gulf, Allied forces had withdrawn onto the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor by January 1942, where they defended the entrance to Manila Bay.
Following the relocation of MacArthur to Australia in March, to serve as Allied Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area, Wainwright inherited the unenviable position of Allied commander in the Philippines. Also that March, Wainwright was promoted to Lieutenant General (temporarily). On April 9, the 70,000 troops on Bataan surrendered under the command of Major General Edward P. King. On May 5, the Japanese attacked Corregidor and on May 6, in the interest of minimizing casualties, Wainwright surrendered. By June 9, Allied forces had completely surrendered.
Wainwright was then held in prison camps in northern Luzon, Formosa, and Liaoyuan (then called Xi'an and was a county within Manchukuo) until his liberation by the Red Army in August 1945. He was the highest-ranking American POW, and despite his rank, his treatment at the hands of the Japanese was not pleasant. After witnessing the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63) on September 2, together with Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, he returned to the Philippines to receive the surrender of the local Japanese commander, Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
Dubbed by his men a "fighting" general who was willing to get down in the foxholes, Wainwright won the respect of all who were imprisoned with him. He agonized over his decision to surrender Corregidor throughout his captivity, feeling that he had let his country down. Upon release, the first question he asked was how people back in the U.S. thought of him, and he was amazed when told he was considered a hero. He later received the Medal of Honor, an honor which General MacArthur opposed.
Medal of Honor citation
Wainwright's Medal of Honor citation reads:
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.
Post-War years and retirement
On September 5, 1945, shortly after the Japanese surrender, Wainwright received his fourth star. On September 13, a ticker-tape parade in New York City was held in his honor. Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned a corps command as commander of Second Service Corps and Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York. In January 1946, he became the commander of the Fifth United States Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas where he retired in August 1947.
Wainwright served on the board of directors for several corporations after his retirement. He made himself available to speak before veterans' groups and filled almost every request to do so. He never felt any bitterness toward MacArthur for his actions in the Philippines or MacArthur's attempt to deny him the Medal of Honor. In fact, when it appeared that MacArthur might be nominated for president at the 1948 Republican National Convention, Wainwright stood ready to make the nominating speech.
He died of a stroke at San Antonio, Texas on September 2, 1953. Wainwright was buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery and is one of the few people to have had their funeral held in the lower level of the Memorial Amphitheater. He is buried next to his wife and near his parents.
Fort Wainwright in Alaska is named for him.
U.S. Army Wainwright Station, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas
A street, Wainwright Drive, was named after him in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
There is a street, Wainwright Drive, in El Paso, Texas named after Jonathan Wainwright, and also an elementary school in the El Paso Independent School District; Wainwright Elementary School opened in 1949 and was closed and placed on reserve status in 2005 in light of the expansion of Fort Bliss through BRAC. It currently serves as a science education resource center; until November 2009, it also served as a student health center.
The Veterans Hospital in Walla Walla, Washington is the Jonathan M. Wainwright IV Medical Center.
There is a memorial to General Wainwright on Corregidor Island.
There is a Wainwright Street located in the Twinbrook section of Rockville, Maryland.
There is a Wainwright Drive in San Jose, California. There is a Wainwright Avenue in Closter, New Jersey
In film MacArthur (film) (1977) Wainwright has been portrated by Sandy Kenyon
General Wainwright's Story. Bantam. 1945. ISBN 0553240617.