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Wainwright, Jonathan Mayhew IV (1883-1953)


Photograph of Jonathan M. Wainright

U.S. Army. Via Wikipedia Commons

"Skinny" Wainwright was born in Washington to a military family. He graduated from West Point in 1906 and was commissioned in the cavalry, seeing service in the Old West and in the Philippines before becoming an instructor of officer candidates just before the First World War. He served briefly in France in 1918. Graduating from the Command and General Staff School in 1931 and the Army War College in 1934, he was promoted to brigadier general in 1938.

In September 1940 Wainwright was promoted to major general and command of Philippine Division, which formed the backbone of the defense after the Japanese invasion of the Phillipines in December 1941. He was given a corps command on Bataan and performed well in this assignment. He assumed MacArthur's command after the latter left for Australia in February of 1942. When Corregidor was forced to surrender in May 1942, Wainwright was compelled to surrender all other American forces in the Philippines or see the Corregidor garrison massacred. For this he expected to be court-martialed, but after his release from a POW camp he found that he had been promoted and awarded the Medal of Honor.

MacArthur's Chief of Staff, Richard Sutherland, described Wainwright as "one of the bravest men I knew. He was a cavalryman of the old school, utterly without personal fear, but strategically and tactically, he wasn't too good." Wainright's skillful organization of the withdrawal of North Luzon Force into Bataan suggests that all this was true except the last part.

Service record

1883-8-2    

Born at Walla Walla, Washington
1906

Graduates from West Point, standing 25th in a class of 78
1909

1 Cavalry Regiment
1918

Chief of staff, 82 Division
1918
Colonel
Chief of staff, 3 Army
1934

Commandant, Cavalry School
1936

Commander, 3 Cavalry Regiment
1938
Brigadier general
Commander, 1 Cavalry Brigade
1940-9
Major general
Commander, Philippine Division
1941

Commander, North Luzon Force
1942-3-19     
Lieutenant general     
Commander, USAFFE
1942-5-6

Prisoner of war
1945-9-5
General

1946-6

Commander, 4 Army
1947-8-31     

Retires
1953-9-2

Dies in San Antonio, Texas

References

Boatner (1996)

Connaughton (2001)

Dupuy et al. (1992)

Generals.de (accessed 2007-11-26)

Morton (1953)



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