[ZOGs_WAR] FW: New Article...
Tue, 6 Aug 2002 18:34:14 ‑0700
"Edgar J. Steele" <[email protected]>
To my knowledge, this excerpt from what is likely to be a book has not yet made the rounds.
Here is a truly riveting account of WWII's Bataan and Corregidor, written by someone who personally interviewed survivors. The
Death March took on new meaning for me after reading this. There is a point of view presented here of Gen MacArthur that, thus
far, has seen little of the light of day but goes a long way toward explaining the antipathy of so many who served under and
around him, not to mention what eventually came of him at Truman's hands....
Spread the word. I hear more might be coming from this rather excellent author about Eisenhower and FDR during the same
period, in advance of formal publication.
The Battling Bastards of Bataan
James L. Choron
"The Battling Bastards of Bataan,
No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam,
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces,
And nobody gives a damn!"
Frank Hewlett, 1942
Sixty years ago, this June, the last of the “Battling Bastards of Bataan” finally laid down their arms and surrendered to the
Japanese invaders of the Philippean Islands. Their defense of the “rock” Corrigidor, is one of the genuine tributes to the
courage and determination of the American fighting man, when he is faced with what appear to be insurmountable odds.
Armed with weapons cast off from the First World War, starving and in rags¼ waiting for relief that was promised but never
planned, they held out for almost four months¼ Guam was occupied by the Japanese in two days, and Wake Island was
occupied in two weeks after heavy fighting by the US Naval and Marine forces. However, Wainright's Battling Bastards
stalled the Japanese timetable for conquest, and bought the United States time¼ time paid for in blood and misery¼ for the
rebuilding of a fleet and the building of an army.
For twenty‑seven days after Bataan fell, as food and munitions ran low, as water and hope dried up, they clung to the Rock
with taloned will. Like Bataan, of which it was an extension, the tale of Corregidor inspired a nation.
The doomed defense was a futile fight. Depending on a fleet that never came, the sick and starved defenders, illequipped and
outnumbered, cost the invading Japanese army dearly in men and time. Those on Bataan had decimated land, air, and naval
forces needed elsewhere, and those on Corregidor had smashed the Forth Division, in which Japan had relied for offensives
in New Guinea and the Solomons.
They had denied Homma the use of Manila Bay. From the Rock they had intercepted messages and provided valuable
intelligence regarding Japanese advance in the Pacific by six months, protected Australia from attack, and enabled
MacArthur to mount the offensive that would win eventual victory in the Pacific.
When once their story was told, it rolled like an anthem through the land. The battlers on Bataan and the eagles on the Rock
gave hope to an embattled America, and pride for her children to come. For theirs is the stuff of epics. It is such annals that
impassion man's will to renew the covenant of his fathers, that his republic shall live in glory and in honor.
Contrary to the popular myth, General Jonathan Wainwright, and not Douglas MacArthur, was the “real” Hero of the
Philippeans. Few who have ever seen it can forget the famous painting of Wainright, tall and gaunt, in profile, wearing his
battered campaign hat, hand on hip, over the open flap of his holster... looking out over the ocean toward America, and the
fleet that, he knew, wasn’t coming¼
He was the son of a cavalry officer. He was born in Walla Walla, Washington, on 2nd August 1883, and graduated from
West Point, the Unted States Military Acacemy, in 1906 (25/78). He theh joined the 1st Cavalry Regiment and was sent to
the Philippean Isiands in 1909, in the aftermath of the Moro Rebellion. In 1918 Wainwright was promoted to Chief of Staff
of the 82nd Infantry Division. Later he held the same position in the 3rd US Army. In 1936, Wainright took over command
of the 34rd Cavalry, at Fort Meyer. Two years later he was promoted to brigadier general and in February 1940 was again
sent to the Philippines to serve under General Douglas MacArthur. Wainwright was placed in command of the North Luzon
As everyone knows, the Japanese Air Force attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on the 7th December 1941.
Most modern readers do not realize that on the following day they carried out air strikes on the Philippines and destroyed half
of MacArthur's air force. At the time, MacArthur was much criticized for this as he had been told to move his airforce after
the raid on Hawaii the previous day. His beliief that an attack on the Philippean Islands was “unlikely”, proved to be the first
of many tactical and strategic blunders on his part, which were later masked by a highly effective public relations campaign.
At the same time, the Japanese Army also invaded the Philippines and they soon held the three air bases in northern Luzon.
On 22nd December the Japanese 14th Army landed at Lingayen Gulf and quickly gained control of Manila from the
inexperienced Filipino troops. Although only 57,000 Japanese soldiers were landed on Luzon it had little difficulty capturing
General Douglas MacArthur now, rather than organizing a counter attack, using his, numerically, vastly superior forces,
ordered a general retreat to the Bataan peninsula. A series of Japanese assaults forced the US defensive lines back and on
22nd February, 1942, MacArthur, who, in spite of overt requests to be:”left at his post”, had, in all of his correspondences
with his Commander in Chief, made himself look indespensible to the war effort in the Pacific, in the eyes of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt, was "ordered" to leave Bataan and go to Australia... many, who were present believe, exactly as he
had planned it all along... It is interesting to note that MacArthur had a flotilla of patrol boats waiting at the docks for just
such an “contingency”, even though he officially denied ever “planning” to leave the Philippean Islands. Now, this is not to be
demeaning to General MacArthur.
It is perfectly understandable, on one hand, how he would understand the principal of “living to fight another day”, and the
necessity of abandoning an untenable position. There was never any doubt as to the eventual fall of the Philippeans. From the
moment of the attack on Pearl Harbor, it was obvious to all that relief of the garrison was impossible, at least for the
forseeable future. It is also understandable from a political perspective, how Franklin Roosevelt, who has been demonstrated
to have had advance knowledge of both the Pearl Harbor attack and the invasion of the Philippeans, would be reluctant to
have the commander of U.S. forces in the thearte become a prisoner of war.
Still, on the other hand, MacArthur was not particularlly well thought of by those who were left behind, and questions
concerning his motivation, character and even his patriotism were voiced in a song penned by some of the troops of
Corrigidor¼ The author, of course, was at the time, and still remains, anomyous¼
“Doug out Doug MacArthur lies a shaking on the rock,
With fifty feet of concrete to protect him from the shock;
With prtrol boats and his Press Corps waiting stately at the docks,
While his troops go starving on”.
It must be pointed out that, even with the clear advantage that the Japanese had in technology, the combined U.S./Fillipino
forces outnumbered the enemy, were holding prepared defensive positions, and could, if properly led, have repelled the
invasion. Japan did not have the resources to reinforce Houma to any extent, nor did they have the resources to launch a
second invasion, should the first fail. Had the Phillipeans been held, even at an excessive casualty rate (which could not
possibly have exceeded the numbers lost in the actual defense or in later Japanese captivity), the entire course of the Second
World War in the Pacific would have changed.
In any case, the damage was done... General Wainwright remained behind with just over 11,000 soldiers and managed to
hold out, on the Bataan Penninsula, until the beginning of May.Wainwright was captured and took part in what became
known as the Bataan Death March. He subsequently transported to Manchukuo (Manchuria), where he remained a prisoner
until the end of the Second World War. Jonathan Wainwright was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and on 5th
September 1945 was promoted to full general. He retired from active duty on 31st August 1947 and lived in San Antonio
until his death on 2nd September 1953.
To begin to understand the fall of Bataan and the aftermath, the Death March, one must know what led to its fall. When the
Japanese invaded the Philippine Islands in December 1941, with their 14th Army consisting of two full divisions (the 16th
and 18th), five anti‑aircraft battalions, three engineering regiments, two tank regiments, and one battalion of medium artillery,
led by Lt. General Masaharu Homma, they faced a defending force of ten divisions of the Philippine Army. Numerically
speaking, the advantage belonged to the defenders. What appears to be an advantage, however, was in reality a
disadvantage: one that hastened the fall of Bataan and one that contributed to thousands of deaths in O'Donnell's prison
At the end of the first week in December 1941, the Philippine forces consisted of 20,000 regulars and 100,000 totally raw
reservists, most of whom were called to the colors within the three months preceding the war. The training of their
artillerymen, so vital in any military action, did not take place until after the outbreak of hostilities. Many of these troops were
illiterate and lacked the ability to communicate with each other. The enlisted men spoke their native dialect, depending on the
area they were from; the officers spoke English, Spanish, or the so‑called national language, Tagalog. Unfortunately, Tagalog
was spoken mainly in and around Manila, the country's capital. Weapons such as the British Enfield rifle of World War I
were obsolete. Uniforms consisted of fiber helmets (the men were never issued steel helmets), canvas shoes, short‑sleeve
shirts, and short pants, hardly suitable for the jungles of Bataan and their surprisingly cold nights.
Now one must admit that troops such as these, for the most part, would be ineffective in confronting a modern army, with
modern equippment. However, the sheer numbers involved, and the presence of decent leadership, unhampered by political
motivation, would have, to a great extent, offset the disadvantages inherent in the use of "native troops". This disadvantage
could have been further offset, had the United States taken advantage of , or had the forces present been forewarned and
allowed to take advantage of the knowledge that an attack was imminent. Even untrained or semi‑trained native levies, firing
from fixed, reinforced defenses, in sufficient numbers, could easily have pushed Houma's forces back into the sea. The
destruction of the available air forces, which can only be seen as a deliberate act on the part of MacArthur, made a viable
defense against the invasion all but impossible. Even considering the age and technology of the aircraft available on the
Phillipean Islands (there were no "modern" aircraft present, only "surplus" from the mid‑thirties), air support, of any kind,
supporting the defense of the beaches would have proven devastating to the Japanese.
In addition to the Philippine Army, Bataan's forces consisted of 11,796 Americans and several regiments of Philippine Scouts
who had been part of the United States Army in the Philippines for many years prior to the war. These were magnificent
soldiers, well trained, loyal, and dedicated to the war effort. Led by American officers, they repeatedly distinguished
themselves in their four months of combat. Adding to the number of military in Bataan were civilians who fled the advancing
Japanese. They entered Bataan of their own free will, yet they had to be fed from military supplies.
Forced to feed such a large number of military and civilians, food became an immediate and critical problem to the command.
Tons of precious rice were left in the warehouses upon the withdrawal into Bataan and were destroyed by the Japanese.
Americans accustomed to "stateside chow" found themselves (mid‑January) on half‑rations along with the Filipino soldiers. A
month later, these rations were cut again (1,000 calories per day) and consisted of rice and fish, or what little meat could be
found. Most of the meat came from the horses and mules of the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts, or the Philippine beast of
burden, the carabao, or water buffalo. Occasionally monkeys and snakes supplemented the diet. Malaria ran rampant in
Bataan, one of the most heavily mosquito‑infested areas in the world at that time. Medication to offset the effects of that
disease began to disappear early in the campaign.
On April 3, 1942, General Homma finally launched his long‑awaited (by both the Japanese high command and the
Americans) final push to crush the Philippines. He easily broke through the final line of resistance of the Fil‑American troops
on Bataan, but he did so, mainly because of the deplorable state of health of the defending forces facing him.
On 3 April 1942 (Good Friday), after a lull in hostilities, the Japanese attacked Bataan, with overwhelming artillery fire which
resulted in the disintigration of the Fil‑American front lines, and a collapse of organized resistance by the Fil‑American forces
in the II Corps area on the eastern side of Bataan. With his troops starving, and sick from various tropical diseases, Major
General Edward P. King was forced to surrender all Bataan Fil‑American forces on 9 April 1942, (73,000 troops) in order
to save lives.
The following announcememt was made over the “Voice of Freedom” broadcasting from Corrigidor, a few days later¼
“Radio Broadcast ‑ Voice of Freedom ‑
Malinta Tunnel ‑ Corregidor ‑ April 9, 1942
"Bataan has fallen. The Philippine‑American troops on this war‑ravaged and bloodstained peninsula have laid down their
arms. With heads bloody but unbowed, they have yielded to the superior force and numbers of the enemy.
The world will long remember the epic struggle that Filipino and American soldiers put up in the jungle fastness and along the
rugged coast of Bataan. They have stood up uncomplaining under the constant and grueling fire of the enemy for more that
three months. Besieged on land and blockaded by sea, cut off from all sources of help in the Philippines and in America, the
intrepid fighters have done all that human endurance could bear.
For what sustained them through all these months of incessant battle was a force that was more than merely physical. It was
the force of an unconquerable faith‑‑something in the heart and soul that physical hardship and adversity could not destroy! It
was the thought of native land and all that it holds most dear, the thought of freedom and dignity and pride in these most
priceless of all our human prerogatives.
The adversary, in the pride of his power and triumph, will credit our troops with nothing less than the courage and fortitude
that his own troops have shown in battle. Our men have fought a brave and bitterly contested struggle. All the world will
testify to the most superhuman endurance with which they stood up until the last in the face of overwhelming odds.
But the decision had to come. Men fighting under the banner of unshakable faith are made of something more that flesh, but
they are not made of impervious steel. The flesh must yield at last, endurance melts away, and the end of the battle must
Bataan has fallen, but the spirit that made it stand‑‑a beacon to all the liberty‑loving peoples of the world‑‑cannot fall!"
The forces on the “rock”¼ Corrigidor¼ battled on¼
Corregidor an inland two miles from Bataan now faced the brunt of Japanese artillery and bombing. For another month
Corregidor held out. On 5 May 1942, the Japanese invaded Corregidor. Lieutenant General Wainwright then sent his last
radio message to President Roosevelt on 6 May 1942. Below is the text of General Jonathan Wainright’s last official
communication with President Roosevelt:
“For the President of the United States:
It is with broken heart and head bowed in sadness, but not in shame, that I report to Your Excellency that I must go today to
arrange terms for the surrender of the fortified islands of Manila Bay: Corregidor (Fort Mills), Caballo (Fort Hughes), El
Fraile (Fort Drum), and Carabao (Fort Frank).
With anti‑aircraft fire control equipment and many guns destroyed, we are no longer able to prevent accurate aerial
bombardment. With numerous batteries of the heaviest caliber emplaced on the shores of Bataan and Cavite out ranging our
remaining guns, the enemy now brings devastating cross fire to bear on us.
Most of my batteries, seacoast, anti‑aircraft and field, have been put out of action by the enemy. I have ordered the others
destroyed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. In addition we are now overwhelmingly assaulted by Japanese
troops on Corregidor.
There is a limit of human endurance and that limit has long since been past. Without prospect of relief I feel it is my duty to my
country and to my gallant troops to end this useless effusion of blood and human sacrifice.
If you agree, Mr. President, please say to the nation that my troops and I have accomplished all that is humanly possible and
that we have upheld the best traditions of the United States and its Army.
May God bless and preserve you and guide you and the nation in the effort to ultimate victory.
With profound regret and with continued pride in my gallant troops I go to meet the Japanese commander.
Good‑by Mr. President.”
Naturally, Roosevelt agreed. Some would say that it had been planned to play out this way from the beginning. America,
after all, "needed" a war. The attack on Pearl Harbor had allowed it to begin. The fall of Bataan,and later of Corigador gave
the country "martyrs", to reinforce their desire and drive to enter into a conflict which could have been either avoided
completely or shortened extensively.
In point of fact, Roosevelt had intended, from all apparent indications, for the United States to enter the European War far
earlier than December, 1941. This became impossible due to the general sentiment of the American people, many of whom
were openly in sympathy with Germany. The Japanese attack which Roosevelt and his administration made clear was a part
of a "pact" between Germany and Japan, was the pretext that was needed. Undoubtedly, such an agreement existed.
However, it was secondary to the true goal of the Roosevelt administration, wihch was, first of all, to end the ongoing
depression with a false, wartime economy, secondly, to take the American public's eye off of a failing domestic policy, and
lastly, to aid in the destruction of the enemies of the Jews, to whom Roosevelt was in debt, and by whom he was surrounded.
All of this, however, is secondary to the topicf at hand, wihch is how the defense of the Phillipeans failed, and why... and the
results of the aftermath.
However, General Homma refused to accept the surrender of Corregidor and the other fortified islands unless the terms
included the surrender of all US forces in the Philippines. For about a month the survivors of Corregidor were held hostage
until all organized resistance in the Philippines ended in June 1942; this was when all elements in the Visayan‑Mindanao
Force in the Southern Philippines under the command of Major General William F. Sharp surrendered.
Food supplies stored on Corregidor often never found their way to the front lines of Bataan, being stolen by hungry rear area
troops while the food was enroute in trucks. Hijacking became a common practice along the way. Here may be found the
first difference between Bataan and Corregidor. Corregidor troops did not go hungry until their capture by the Japanese.
Consequently, the men of Corregidor entered captivity in relatively good health and with very few cases of malaria on record.
Such differences were to have a major impact on who was to survive the prison camps that were to follow. Comparing
rosters of units serving on Bataan and Corregidor, it was determined that the chances of surviving imprisonment were two in
three, if captured on Corregidor, and one in three if captured on Bataan, an obvious substantiation of the differences between
the two groups at the time of their capture.
On Corregidor, there were 15,000 American and Filipino troops, consisting of anti‑aircraft and coastal defenses, along with
the Fourth Marine Regiment, recently arrived from China (December 1941), less a detachment stationed on Bataan, as part
of a Naval Battalion. Despite some writings to the contrary, again dealing in "legends," the Fourth Marine Regiment did not
participate in the defense of Bataan. Their mission was beach defense on Corregidor. Approximately 43 Marines arrived in
Camp O'Donnell after completing the Death March.
Of the 11,796 American soldiers on Bataan on April 3,1942, about 1,500 remained wounded or sick in Bataan's two field
hospitals after the surrender. Others, relatively few, made their way across the two miles of shark‑infested waters to
Corregidor, where they were assigned to beach defense. About 9,300 Americans reached Camp O'Donnell after completing
the Death March. About 600‑650 Americans died on the March. Of the 66,000 Filipino troops, Scouts, Constabulary and
Philippine Army units, it can be said the approximately 2,500 of them remained in the hospitals of Bataan; about 1,700 of
them escaped to Corregidor, and a small number of them remained on Bataan as work details for the Japanese after the
Those captured on Bataan on or about April 9,1942, were in the general area of the town of Mariveles, at the southern tip of
the Bataan peninsula. Large fields outside this town were used as staging areas for the thousands of captives, American and
Filipino, gathered together.
Mass confusion reigned in these areas and when darkness fell, it became impossible to recognize anyone. In a brief period of
time buddies were soon separated and, in many cases, never to see one another again. It was not uncommon for two friends
from the same unit to enter one of these fields not know of each other's survival for over 40 years.
Each morning, groups of several hundred would be hustled out on Bataan's, one time, concrete road (National Road) leading
north out of the peninsula and began the exodus to prison camp. No design or plans for the group ever materialized. Each
sunrise, shouting, shooting, bayoneting, by Japanese, would assemble anyone they could to make up the marching groups.
As a result, individuals generally found themselves among perfect strangers, even if they were fellow Americans.
Consequently, a "dog eat dog, every man for himself" attitude soon prevailed. Few helped one another on the March. Those
belonging to the same military unit were fortunate, with their buddies helping when needed.
During one group's march, volunteers were sought to carry a stretcher containing a colonel wounded in both legs and unable
to walk. Four men offered to help. After hours of carrying the man in a scorching hot sun with no stops and no water, they
asked for relief from other marchers. No one offered to pick up the stretcher. Soon, the original four bearers, put down the
man and went off on their own. The colonel was last seen by the side of the road begging to be carried by anyone.
After the first day of marching, without food or water, men began to drop out of column. Japanese guards would rush up,
shouting commands in Japanese to get back in the group. When that approach failed, shots rang, out killing those who would
not or could not rise. Many of those failing to obey the order to march were beheaded by sword wielding‑Japanese guards,
usually officers and non‑coms.
Such actions on the part of the Japanese brought many captives to their feet and they continued the march for awhile longer.
As each day and night passed without water, the marchers began to break from their group to run to anything that resembled
water. Most often they would hurl themselves into a water puddle alongside of the road and lap up, similar to a cat lapping
milk from a saucer, the so‑called water. The puddles were used by the carabao to coat themselves with mud as a protection
against the huge flies constantly about them. Upon rising from the puddle, the water would assume a "clear" state. Needless
to say, the water was not potable and drinking of it soon brought on cramps, diarrhea, and eventually dysentery caused by
the numerous flies found in the puddle. Such acts continued for each day of the March, lasting from five to ten days,
depending upon where one joined the March, and continued until the marchers reached the town of San Fernando,
Pampamga, P.I., a distance for most marchers of over 100 kilometers.
Upon reaching San Fernando, the prisoners were forced into 1918 model railroad boxcars (40X8) used in France during
World War I. With over 100 men in each car, the Japanese then closed the doors on the prisoners. There was no room to sit
down or fall down. Men died in the sweltering cars. Upon arriving in Capas, Tarlac, almost four hours later, the men
detrained for Camp O'Donnell, another ten kilometer walk.
Official figures estimate that between 44,000 and 50,000 of the Filipinos arrived at O'Donnell after completing the March.
Between 12,000 and 18,000 of their number are unaccounted for. What happened to them is unknown, but a safe guess is
that between 5,000 to 10,000 of them lost their lives on the Death March. The death toll for both Filipinos and Americans,
however, did not cease upon reaching O'Donnell. Instead, during the first forty days of that camp's existence, more that
1,500 Americans were to die. At least 25,000 Filipinos died by July 1942 in the same camp. All of the deaths were the
direct result of malnutrition on Bataan, disease, and the atrocities committed by the Japanese on the March.
Shortly after the last of these prisoners entered O'Donnell (April 24,1942), Corregidor fell on May 6. Battered by constant
shell fire from Bataan and aerial bombardment, with their supplies running out, Wainwright, successor to MacArthur as
commanding officer of the United States forces in the Philippines, decided his situation was hopeless and surrendered
Corregidor and the troops in the southern part of the Philippines. With the establishing of a beach head on Corregidor by the
Japanese, he avoided a "bloodbath" that would have most certainly occurred had the Japanese fought their way from the
beach to Malinta Tunnel, where most of the defenders of the island had withdrawn.
After two weeks of the famous Japanese "sun treatment" for prisoners, in the sun‑baked areas of Corregidor, these troops
were taken across Manila Bay to Manila and then by train to Prison camp Cabanatuan, Cabanatuan, P.I. The men were in
that camp when the Bataan survivors arrived from Camp O'Donnell in June 1942. The extremely high death rate in that camp
prompted the Japanese to make such a move, and thereby allowed the American medical personnel to treat the Filipino
prisoners remaining behind until their release beginning in July 1942. The condition of the prisoners arriving in Cabanatuan
was such as to shock their fellow Americans from Corregidor. In a short period of time, however, they, too, would feel the
full effects of Japanese captivity.
It was not, however, until June 1942 that the men of Bataan and Corregidor began to share a common experience. During
the first nine months of Cabanatuan's existence, when the vast majority of the camp's 3,000 American deaths occurred, most
of the deaths were men of Bataan, still suffering from the effects of Bataan, the Death March, and Camp O'Donnell. That the
men of Corregidor were more fortuitous than their fellow Americans in avoiding starvation, pestilence, and atrocities up to
this point is beyond question.
After the surrender of the Fil‑American forces on Bataan, the Japanese began to march the starving, sick, and wounded
survivors to Camp O'Donnel over 100 miles away. This event has become known as the "Bataan Death March." Bataan
survivors were robbed of personal effects, denied food and water, or received very little; soldiers that could not keep up with
the pace were, bayoneted, shot, or beheaded. The number of soldiers beaten and/or executed by the Japanese was in the
thousands before the march was completed.
The loss of the Philippines to the Japanese, was the largest single defeat of American Armed Forces in history. This loss was
not the result of a lack efforts by our the soldiers and sailors, but rather a lack of preparedness of the United States as a
whole. The United States underestimated the Japanese, and we were not willing as a nation to keep our armed forces trained
and ready to protect the interests of the United States and its people. The defense of the Philippines is not talked about or
studied very much in today's society, and its lessons may go unlearned if we do not remember the sacrifices made the men
and women we asked to defend them and us. These brave soldiers and sailors bought us time to prepare our defenses and
take the offensive in the Pacific. Their stubborn sacrifices forced the Japanese to commit more forces than they originally
planned to the conquest of the Philippines which denied them their use in making their drive of conquest south of the
Upon his release from a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp after over three years in captivity, and at the request of General of
Army Douglas MacArthur; Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright appeared at the surrender of the Japanese Empire to
the Allies on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay . On his way back to the United States, he was
promoted to General. A few days after arriving in the United States, General Wainwright was asked to visit the White House
by President Truman, and in a ceremony held in the rose garden, General Jonathan M. Wainwright was presented the "Medal
of Honor" for his actions while commanding the Northern Luzon Forces, I Corps on Bataan, and all United States Forces in
the Philippines. During his time as a Prisoner of War, General Wainwright expected to be court martialed upon his return to
the United States, but instead he found a grateful nation who was proud to have him back. Unfortunately, the only thing
anyone ever remembers about General Wainwright, is his role in the surrender of the Philippine Islands to the Japanese in
1942. If America had been properly prepared to fight and defend its territory, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the loss of
the Philippines might never have happened.
With the fall of the Philippines, over 70,000 (50,000 Filipino, 20,000 American) soldiers, sailors, and airmen became
prisoners of the Japanese, not to mention the civilian internees. At the end of World War II, nearly 37% of all POWs lost
their lives as a result of the way the Japanese treated their captives. How many people remember the POWs and what they
did for our country? Officially the United States Government presented each surviving POW the monetary sum of $1.00 a
day for each day of captivity (approximately $1,000) above their normal pay and¼ unfortunately¼ not much more.
It is interesting to note that in the surrender ceremonies, General Wainright is not wearing his sidearm, and in every known
photograph, refuses to look at MacArthur. In many cases, the look on the General's face is one of absolute disgust. One
must question which presence he found to be more offensive, that of his "official" enemies and former captors, or that of his
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