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First Name: Jonathan

Last Name: Wainwright

Birthplace: Walla Walla, WA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: West Point, NY
Middle Name: Mayhew

Date of Birth: 23 August 1883

Date of Death: 02 September 1953

Rank: General

Years Served: 1906-47
Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1906

•  Moro Rebellion (1899 - 1913)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV

General, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

General Jonathan Mayhew 'Skinny' Wainwright IV (23 August 1883 - 2 September 1953) was a U.S. 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 U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV was born on 23 August 1883 at Fort Walla Walla, an Army post now in Walla Walla, WA. He was the son of Robert Powell Page Wainwright, a U.S. Army officer who had served as a 2nd Lt in the U.S. 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 the U.S. Military Academy 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, KS, in 1916 and was promoted to Captain. By 1917 he was on the staff of the first officer training camp at Plattsburgh, NY.

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, VA, from 1923-25. In 1929, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and graduated from the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 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, TX.

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 U.S. 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 (temporary). On 9 April, the 70,000 troops on Bataan surrendered under the command of Major General Edward P. King. On 5 May, the Japanese attacked Corregidor and on 6 May, in the interest of minimizing casualties, Wainwright surrendered. By 9 June, Allied forces had completely surrendered.

Wainwright was then held in prison camps in northern Luzon, Formosa, and Manchuria 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 2 September, 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

Rank and organization: General, Commanding U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines.

Place and date: Philippine Islands, 12 March to 7 May 1942.

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.

On 5 September 1945, shortly after the Japanese surrender, Wainwright received his fourth star. On 13 September, a ticker-tape parade in New York City was held in his honor. Upon returning to the U.S. he was assigned a corps command as Commander of Second Service Corps and Fort Jay, Governors Island, NY. In January 1946, he became the Commander of the Fifth United States Army at Fort Sam Houston, TX, where he retired in August 1947.

Post-Military Life

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.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Prisoner of War Medal
Philippine Campaign Medal
World War I Victory Medal with 3 Battle Clasps
Occupation of Germany World War I Medal
American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Philippine Defense Medal with Bronze Star
Philippine Independence Ribbon


Fort Wainwright in Alaska is named for him.
U.S. Army Wainwright Station, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX.
Wainwright Drive was named after him in Pittsburgh, PA.
● A street, Wainwright Drive, in El Paso, TX, is named after Jonathan Wainwright.
● 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, WA, is the Jonathan M. Wainwright IV Medical Center.
● There is a memorial to General Wainwright on Corregidor Island.
Wainwright Street is located in the Twinbrook section of Rockville, MD.
Wainwright Drive is in San Jose, CA.
Wainwright Avenue is in Closter, NJ.
● In film MacArthur (film) (1977) Wainwright has been portrayed by Sandy Kenyon.

Death and Burial

General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV died of a stroke at San Antonio, TX, on 2 September 1953. Wainwright is buried in Section 1, Lot 358-B, of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

He 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 (1979) and near his parents.

Honoree ID: 1694   Created by: MHOH




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