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Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, IV
Birth: Aug. 23, 1883
Walla Walla
Walla Walla County
Washington, USA
Death: Sep. 2, 1953
San Antonio
Bexar County
Texas, USA

US Army General, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. A combat veteran of World Wars I and II, he was the highest ranking US military officer to become a prisoner of war during World War II and he received the Medal of Honor for his gallant service at Corregidor, in the Philippines, before surrendering to the overwhelming Japanese forces. Nicknames "Skinny' or "Jim," he was born at Fort Walla Walla, Washington, the son of a US Army officer who served in the Spanish-American War and was killed in action in the Philippines. He moved with his mother moved to Illinois where he graduated from Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois, near Chicago. He was then accepted to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated in 1906 with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Cavalry. His first assignment was with the US 1st Cavalry Regiment in Texas from 1906 to 1908, followed by service in the Philippines from 1908 to 1910, where he saw combat on Jolo Island, during the Moro Rebellion. After returning to the US, he graduated from the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1916 and was promoted to the rank of captain. In 1917 he served on the staff of the first officer training camp at Plattsburgh, New York. In February 1918 he was sent to France, during World War I and the following June he became Assistant Chief-of-Staff of the US 82nd Infantry Division, with which he participated in the Saint Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. After promotion to the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel before the German surrender in November 1918, he was assigned to occupation duty in Germany from October 1918 until 1920 with the 3rd Army at Koblenz, Germany and reverted to the permanent rank of captain and was later promoted to the rank of major. He returned to the US and was assigned as an instructor at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, and from 1921 to 1923 he was attached to the General Staff. In 1923 he was assigned to the US 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Myer, Virginia. In 1929 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and in 1931 he graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and in 1934 he graduated from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. In 1935 he was promoted to the rank of colonel and became the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas until 1938, when he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade at Fort Clark, Texas. In September 1940 he was temporarily promoted to the rank of major general and assigned to the Philippines three months later as commander of the Philippine Department. As the senior field commander of Filipino and US force, under General Douglas MacArthur, he was responsible for resisting the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, which began in December 1941, along with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and led to the US declaring war on Japan. By January 1942, the Allied forces had withdrawn onto the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor, where they defended the entrance to Manila Bay. Following MacArthur's relocation to Australia in March 1942, to serve as Allied Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area, he became the Allied commander in the Philippines and was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant general. On April 9, 1942 the 70,000 troops on Bataan surrendered under the command of Major General Edward P. King and the following month, the Japanese attacked Corregidor and in the interest of minimizing casualties, he surrendered. He was 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 Russian Army in August 1945. When he met General Macarthur in August 1945 shortly after his liberation, he had become thin and malnourished from three years of mistreatment during his captivity. After witnessing the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri on September 2nd, he returned to the Philippines to receive the surrender of the local Japanese commander, Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita. In September 1945 he was promoted to the rank of general and a ticker-tape parade was held in New York City, New York in his honor and received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman on September 19, 1945, which had first been proposed in 1942, early in his captivity, but was rejected due to the vehement opposition of MacArthur, who felt that Corregidor should not have been surrendered. Macarthur did not oppose the renewed proposal in 1945. He then became the commander of Second Service Command and the Eastern Defense Command at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York and in January 1946, he became the commander of the 4th Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and he retired in that position in August 1947 with 41 years of continuous military service. Other than the Medal of Honor, his military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army Distinguished Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Philippine Campaign Medal, the World War I Victory Medal with three battle clasps, the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with base clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two service stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the Philippine Defense Medal with bronze star, and the Philippine Independence Medal. He was also given a Hereditary Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the US by right of his grandfather's service in the Union Navy who was killed during the American Civil War. After his military retirement, he served on the board of directors for several corporations and was a frequent speaker at veterans' groups. He never felt any bitterness toward MacArthur for his actions in the Philippines or MacArthur's attempt to deny him the Medal of Honor. When it appeared that MacArthur might be nominated for president at the 1948 Republican National Convention, he was prepared to make the nominating speech. He died of a stroke at the age of 70. His book, "General Wainwright's Story," an account of his humiliating defeat, surrender, and captivity during World War II, was published in 1945. Fort Wainwright in Alaska is named in his honor. In the film "MacArthur," he was portrayed by actor Sandy Kenyon. His 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." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Family links: 
  Robert Powell Page Wainwright (1852 - 1902)
  Josephine Eva Serrell Wainwright (1852 - 1939)
  Adele Holley Wainwright (1887 - 1970)*
*Calculated relationship
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 1, Lot 358-B
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1067
Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, IV
Added by: Donald Greyfield
Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, IV
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Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, IV
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