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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 9/17/2009 4:57:18 AM EST

Most of you know about GEN Jonathan Wainwright, who won the Medal of Honor in the Phillipines during WWII. His 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.



However, few people would remember his son, Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright V, who as Master of the SS Bushrod Washington, received the equivelent of the Medal of Honor, the Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal for his actions as cited,

For distinguished service under especially hazardous conditions.

His own ship having been hit with a heavy bomb, [Salerno, Italy] and the resulting fire being beyond control, he displayed exceptional leadership in having all survivors safely abandon ship before it blew up. Subsequently, he was appointed by the Naval Commander of Landing Operations to take over a cargo ship which had been heavily bombed and abandoned. But her cargo was gasoline and ammunition urgently needed by our invasion forces which had just established a beach-head on the shore one-half mile away. The engine room of this ship was flooded with thirty feet of water –– her deck gear was almost completely wrecked –– and the bodies of over fifty dead soldiers, sailors and merchant seamen lay about her decks.

His first task was to get those bodies ashore for proper registration and burial. Then, by various ingenious methods, Wainwright and nine volunteers from his own crew, determinedly labored for nine days under exceptionally dangerous conditions to get that vital cargo landed. With this task completed, it was determined that the ship might be salvaged. Utilizing air compressors, and steering from the after deck, Wainwright brought the critically damaged ship, under tow by another Liberty ship, through heavy seas and high winds to Bizerte for repairs.

His unfaltering courage, indomitable determination, and expert seamanship in accomplishing his missions under unusually trying circumstances were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Merchant Marine.







Thus, they are possibly the only father/son combination to receive the the highest award, in their respective services, during the same conflict.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:06:38 AM EST
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:14:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By Infantry26:
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."


That's a fair enough assessment of Wainwright, though his troops did think the world of him, broadly speaking. Wainwright was the senior ranking officer in the PoW camps, and that probably was a rather unpleasant experience. At the time, there was the impression that since MacArthur had essentially given himself a MoH, that he was giving Wainwright one, too.

I'm not a huge MacArthur fan, if you couldn't tell.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:15:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By Infantry26:
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."


Skinny Wainwright deserved all that and more.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:26:24 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:39:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By ODA_564:
Originally Posted By Infantry26:
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."


Skinny Wainwright deserved all that and more.


I don't want anyone to think that I feel that GEN Wainwright's service was anything but laudible...he was put in a tremendously difficult position. However, so was Stilwell, who was essentially sacrificed by the KMT apologists in Washington, to the evential detriment of both American and KMT interests.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:46:24 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 5:47:04 AM EST by myitinaw]
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By ODA_564:
Originally Posted By Infantry26:
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."


Skinny Wainwright deserved all that and more.


I don't want anyone to think that I feel that GEN Wainwright's service was anything but laudible...he was put in a tremendously difficult position. However, so was Stilwell, who was essentially sacrificed by the KMT apologists in Washington, to the evential detriment of both American and KMT interests.


Read "The OSS in China", and "Way of a Fighter" before lauding Stilwell a hero....
he was a Communist supporter and was instrumental in aiding Mao.





Link Posted: 9/17/2009 6:18:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By myitinaw:
Originally Posted By Screechjet1:
Originally Posted By ODA_564:
Originally Posted By Infantry26:
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."


Skinny Wainwright deserved all that and more.


I don't want anyone to think that I feel that GEN Wainwright's service was anything but laudible...he was put in a tremendously difficult position. However, so was Stilwell, who was essentially sacrificed by the KMT apologists in Washington, to the evential detriment of both American and KMT interests.


Read "The OSS in China", and "Way of a Fighter" before lauding Stilwell a hero....
he was a Communist supporter and was instrumental in aiding Mao.







Stilwell was branded a "Communist Supporter" by the KMT throughout the entire War. I read "The OSS in China" (though, in fairness, its been a long time, assuming you're talking about the one written by the Chinese guy, forgot the name) and thought the reporting was a little unfair to Stilwell. Stilwell viewed his mission as primarily defeating the Japanese, rather than aiding the KMT. The perception (not always correct, but still widely held) was that the Communists were actively resisting, and the KMT simply wasn't, due to incompentence and corruption. The fact that there were very few competent and realitively uncorrupt KMT officials led Stilwell, and others, to believe that even if the KMT was right, they couldn't win. That assessment (which was proven correct) combined with a rather naive idea (IMO) that the nature of the post-War Chinese government was a matter best to left up to the Chinese, by and large, contributed what would historically occur.

Like it or not, it was the KMT, not the U.S., who lost China. My personal view is that a combination of KMT corruption and fecklessness, a China lobby in the US totally focused on perpuetuation of KMT governance rather than a friendly China, an almost a complete lack of unity of effort (just about every U.S. .gov organization had some kind of presense in China, often pursuing contradictory efforts), and highly efficient Communist penetration of our operational and decision making centers (thus a total counter-intelligence failure, possibly without equal in history) all conspired to send the KMT to Taiwan in 1949.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 6:20:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
Originally Posted By Infantry26:
I'm not a huge fan of generals getting MoH for "frequenting the firing line."


Skinny Wainwright deserved all that and more.

MacArthur is lucky that Wainwright didn't kill him in Japan.
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