2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

The day the highest-ranking POW came home

Published: August 16, 2013, 11:59 am, by Tom Roeder

wainwrightIt was two days after VJ day when the war ended for Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright IV.

The former commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, which once called Fort Carson home,  was the highest-ranking American prisoner of war taken in World War II, or any other war.

Wainwright led American efforts in the Philippines and a surrendered the starving ill-equipped garrison to the Japanese in early 1942.

He was held in prison camps around the Pacific in in China during the war, and was a walking skeleton when he was released from captivity on Aug. 16, 1945.

The Empire of Japan had quit the Aug. 14.

The general was a free man when he got to see the war end as Japanese leaders signed a surrender aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.