Table of Contents ** Abbreviations * Military Map Symbols
Appendix VI: The Surrender of Wake by the Japanese
On 7 September 1945, Rear Admiral Saiaibara, Shigematsu, IJN, undoubtedly undergoing an experience
even more painful than that of Commander Cunningham and Major Devereux
in 1941, resurrendered Wake to the United States. With fitting regard
for the tradition of Wake, the surrender was received by a Marine
officer, Brigadier General L.H.M. Sanderson, USMC, and the first
American again to set foot on the soil of Wake was Colonel Walter L.J.
Bayler, USMC, celebrated as "the last man off Wake Island," which he
had left on 21 December 1941.
A detailed narrative of the resurrender and reoccupation of Wake is
given in General Sanderson's official report, which is now quoted in
entirety (but without certain enclosures thereto):
United States Marine Corps
Headquarters, Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, F.M.F., c/o Fleet Post
Office, San Francisco, California.
7 September 1945.
||Commander Wake Surrender Acceptance Unit, CTU 96.14.1,
General L.H.M. Sanderson, U.S.M.C.
||Commander Marshalls Gilberts Surrender and Occupation
C.T.G. 96.14 (C.T.F. 96), Rear Admiral W.K. Harrill, U.S.N.
||Surrender Acceptance of Wake Atoll on 4 September 1945,
||(a) ComMarGilsArea Operation Plan No. 4-45.
||(A) Surrender Document.
(B) Copy of General Order Number One, Wake Atoll.
- The Wake Surrender Acceptance Unit got under way from Ebeye for
Wake late Sunday afternoon, 2 September 1945, aboard U.S.S. Levy
(DE 162) which was accompanied by U.S.S. Lehardy (DE 20) and
U.S.S. Charles R. Greer (DE 23). ComCortDiv 11, Commander H.E.
Cross, U.S.N.R. (CTU 96.14.2), and Commander Prospective Occupation
Unit, Commander W. Masek, U.S.N. (Ret.) (C.T.U. 96.14.4), were also
aboard U.S.S. Levy.
- A preliminary conference concerning the surrender acceptance and
occupation of Wake was held that same afternoon in the wardroom. At
this time, Commander Cross was requested to furnish 10 bluejackets with
rifles from each ship for the flag raising ceremony to take place on
Wake Island on Tuesday, 4 September 1945. Also requested for this
ceremony were 20 bluejackets armed with pistols to form a cordon around
the area. Aspects of naval support, communications, and occupation were
- At a conference held at 1400 M. on Monday the following day all
details concerning the operation were discussed. Arrangements were made
for complying with various requests of press correspondents and
photographers. A preliminary reading of the Surrender Document and
General Order Number 1 was made. All hands. participating in the
surrender and flag-raising ceremonies were carefully instructed in
- Our force arrived off Wake at 0700 M. on Tuesday, 4 September,
the following day. General Quarters was sounded and the ships closed to
1,000 yards off the channel entrance to the lagoon. There was no
evidence of enemy activity outside of one American Motor Launch, which
proved later to be carrying the Japanese
Commander, Admiral Sakaibara and his staff, plus one Japanese
assault boat. These boats were cruising in the vicinity of three
mooring buoys 800 meters off the channel entrance.
- Admiral Sakaibara and his staff (unarmed) came alongside just
prior to 0800 and were taken aboard without honors and escorted to the
boat deck where they were introduced by Colonel Walker, U.S.M.C., to
General Sanderson's staff and to Commanders Cross and Masek (there was
no handshaking). After all hands were seated, General Sanderson arrived
on the boat deck. All hands were again seated after introductions and
the press was given permission to take photographs at will. A Japanese
Imperial Army Colonel accompanied Admiral Sakaibara.
- A Japanese Nisei was introduced by General Sanderson as an
American citizen with full authority to act as official interpreter.
General Sanderson announced his authority as representative of Admiral
Harrill, Commander Marshalls-Gilberts Area; the letter of authorization
was handed to Admiral Sakaibara for inspection.
- Admiral Sakaibara was next questioned about the instructions
which had been previously dropped by plane. He stated that he was
busily engaged in complying with those instructions. General Order
Number 1 was then brought forward and tendered to the Japanese. Admiral
Sakaibara stated that these instructions varied somewhat from previous
instructions, but that he would comply with them in all respects.
- The Surrender Document (including Japanese translations) was
handed to Admiral Sakaibara for his inspection. After inspection of the
document by himself and staff he announced that he was ready to sign.
At this time he stated that he was sorry Japan had lost the War, but
was happy that Americans were accepting his surrender. Two official
originals (both translations) of the Surrender Document were signed,
first by Admiral Sakaibara, then by General Sanderson at 0819 Mike zone
time. These originals were sealed and one original of both translations
was handed to the Japanese for retention. A few copies were also signed
for record purposes.
- General Order Number 1 was again brought forth, signed and
promulgated by General Sanderson, and handed to the Japanese for
- Admiral Sakaibara was requested to have his naval staff, the
staff, and a platoon of 40 enlisted at the boat landing at 1330 to take
part in the flag raising ceremony.
- Various items of information were then obtained from the
Japanese. These items included questions on possible prisoners of war
and civilian internees on Wake, ammunition, armament, marine and land
mines, strength of garrison, condition of airfield runways, whether
landings were possible in the lagoon, number useable vehicles, location
of American graves, number of sick and nature of illnesses, et cetera.
We had brought some medicine and a small amount of food for their
- The above having been completed, press representatives requested
a press interview from Admiral Sakaibara who granted them a few
moments; this interview took place in the wardroom.
- Admiral Sakaibara then requested permission to leave the ship in
order to inform his command that the surrender had been accepted and in
order to prepare for the flag-raising ceremony. This was granted. The
Japanese flag boat was called alongside and the Japanese departed at
about 1000 M.
- A small boat the Lehardy with segments of a flag pole
necessary tackle, plus a working party came alongside, picked up CO.
Walter L.J. Bayler, U.S.M.C., and departed for shore at about 1020 M.
Immediately thereafter, Levy moored to center mooring buoy 800
meters off the channel entrance. A small boat carrying correspondents
and photographers was dispatched to the beach.
- Another small boat was called alongside and took ashore
Commander, Cross, Commander Masek, Lieutenant Colonel Roberson,
U.S.M.C., and members of an inspection party to make a preliminary
inspection of the island and to spot a location for the flag-raising
ceremony. This was selected at a point about 100 yards southeast of
landing at head of boat basin.
- Meanwhile Colonel Bayler, the last American to leave Wake prior
to Japanese occupation had stepped ashore. He was the first American to
set foot on Wake after almost 4 years of war with Japan.
- While the other two DE's were being nested on Levy, the
inspection continued ashore. After a preliminary inspection of the
airfield runways by vehicle, a scouting line was formed and the entire
5,700 feet of the main east-west runway was inspected by personnel
walking the entire length on foot.
- At about 1130, a PBM from Eniwetok made a successful landing in
the lagoon. Part of the crew came ashore to make a report.
- At 1300 the preliminary inspection party and members of the
returned to the boat landing. Admiral Sakaibara was told to place his
staff and unarmed guard on the south side of the flag pole. The was
accomplished. The Marine Color Guard and flag raising detail were
mustered on the dock inboard of a platoon of 30 bluejacket riflemen. A
cordon of 20 bluejackets with pistols were stationed at regular
intervals in the cleared area around the flag pole. Admiral Sakaibara
requested and was granted permission to remain on the dock to receive
General Sanderson as he came ashore.
- At 1330 General Sanderson and his Chief of Staff Colonel Walker
arrived at the boat dock and disembarked. They were greeted by American
Staff Officers and by Admiral Sakaibara. General Sanderson with Admiral
Sakaibara on his left, followed by his staff, the colors, and the color
platoon, then marched to the north side of the flag pole and halted.
Admiral Sakaibara was ordered to rejoin his staff.
- General Sanderson read a Proclamation and ordered the Colors to
be hoisted. With the platoon at
"Present Arms," with both American and Japanese saluting, the
Colors were then hoisted and two-blocked while the notes of "To the
Colors" were sounded on the bugle. As the Colors reached the peak
the flag pole, the Levy commenced and completed firing a
twenty-one gun salute.
- Commander Masek, the Prospective Atoll Commander, was then
ordered front and center and received command of Wake Atoll from
- General Sanderson informed Admiral Sakaibara that the United
States had taken possession of Wake Atoll, that Commander Masek had
relieved him of the Command of Wake Atoll, and that henceforward he
would receive his orders from the senior naval officer present.
- General Sanderson ordered Admiral Sakaibara to march off his
troops. This was done after each Japanese had individually saluted
Admiral Sakaibara, then General Sanderson. The American contingent was
then marched off.
- Shortly thereafter, General Sanderson requested Admiral
to conduct him on a formal inspection tour of the island. The airfield
was visited first, then the inspection party moved on to the northern
end of Wake Island, crossed a wooden bridge to Peale Island, retraced
this route and stopped at Admiral Sakaibara's quarters where the latter
proffered his Samurai Sword to General Sanderson as a personal gift for
Admiral Harrill. On this inspection no Japanese troops were in sight;
Japanese military police were stationed at 100-yard intervals along all
- The inspection party then proceeded to the scene of the American
graves which consisted of two mounds mounted by freshly painted white
crosses. One grave had been dug by Americans and one by Japanese. It
was reported by the Japanese that 40 Americans were buried in the two
- The inspection party then returned to the dock where a Japanese
flute and picture of little or no value were offered to General
Sanderson. These gifts were accepted, but later returned in accordance
with instructions. The inspection party then embarked aboard boats for Levy.
A dispatch report was sent to Commander Marshalls-Gilberts Area
immediately following the surrenders. later that evening a dispatch was
sent reporting the conclusion of the flag raising ceremony and the
inspection of the Atoll. Early the next morning General Sanderson, his
staff, and members of the press departed by two twin-engined planes
which had made successful landings on the airfield that morning. Prior
to departure from the airfield Admiral Sakaibara offered a nonalcoholic
beverage (cider) to General Sanderson and his staff.
- On return to Kwajalein, General Sanderson reported in person to
- American troops wore plain Khaki with no neckties. Bluejackets
were dressed in whites for the flag raising ceremony. Japanese naval
personnel wore field blouses and trousers of light gray with boots, Sam
Browne belts, and kepis. Japanese Army personnel wore the same uniform
made of a brown-colored cloth.
- The attitude of our people toward the Japanese was at all times
serious; at no time was either familiarity or harshness in evidence.
The Japanese appeared quite anxious to please, going out of their way
to be helpful. Admiral Sakaibara was cheerful and cooperative, and
appeared to possess a high degree of intelligence.
 This officer was subsequently
convicted of murder by the
U.S. War Crimes Tribunal, and was sentenced to hang.
Table of Contents ** Abbreviations * Military Map Symbols
Return to HyperWar: U.S. Marine Corps in World War II
Return to HyperWar: World War II on the
Last updated: May 23, 1996
corrections, additions, and comments are welcome!
Compiled and formatted by Patrick