Table of Contents **
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
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, Brigadier General
L.H.M. Sanderson, U.S.M.C.
||Commander Marshalls Gilberts Surrender and Occupation Command, 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, Narrative of.
||(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 discussed.
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 their duties.
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
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 compliance.
Admiral Sakaibara was requested to have his naval staff, the army 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 garrison.
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 and 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 press 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 of 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.
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 Sakaibara 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 roads.
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 graves.
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 Admiral Harrill.
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 **
Military Map Symbols
HyperWar: U.S. Marine Corps in World War II
HyperWar: World War II on the WorldWideWeb
May 23, 1996