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Jonathan M. Wainwright IV
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Military Personnel
    (August 23, 1883-September 2, 1953)
    Born in Walla Walla, Washington
    Senior field commander of US and Filipino forces in the Philippines (1940-42)
    Surrendered with his forces at Corregidor (May 6, 1942)
    Highest-ranking American POW in WWII
    Received the Medal of Honor (September 19, 1945)
    Nicknamed 'Skinny' and 'Last of the Fighting Generals'
    He objected to General Edward P. King disobeying General Douglas MacArthur's orders to fight to the last man and surrender at Bataan, but a month later he would make an almost identical decision to surrender Corregidor.
    He complied with a Japanese demand to not just surrender the troops at Corregidor but to broadcast an order for the remaining US forces in the southern Philippines to surrender.
    MacArthur objected to awarding him a Medal of Honor, saying it 'would be a grave mistake.'
    He exposed himself to enemy fire on repeated visits to the front lines during the Philippines campaign, explaining, 'A general is supposed to see that his men get plenty of food, ammunition and rest. We are very short on all three. The only thing I can give them is morale.'
    He refused to be evacuated from the Philippines, saying, 'I have been with my men from the start and if captured, I shall share their lot. We have been through so much together that my conscience would not let me leave before the final curtain.'
    His Medal of Honor cited his 'intrepid and determined leadership against greatly superior enemy forces.'
    After awarding him the Medal of Honor, President Truman wrote in his diary, 'I don't see why Roosevelt didn't order Wainwright to Australia and let MacArthur be a martyr. We'd have had a real general and fighting man if we had Wainwright and not a play actor and bunco man.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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