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The Jaluit Atoll surrender took place on September 5, 1945. This article appeared in DESANews, January-February issue, 1988, submitted by Norman Hale of USS McConnell DE 163.
The Surrender of Jaluit Atoll
Jaluit Atoll in the Marshalls: The American Flag was raised over the Japanese Capitol of the Marshall Islands this afternoon within a few hours after it's garrison of 2,000 men surrendered unconditonally to the United States.
The surrender took place aboard the Destroyer Escort USS McConnell, anchored in the lagoon, when Rear Admiral W. K. Harrill, Commander Marshalls-Gilberts Area, acting for Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, accepted the surrender of Rear Admiral Nisuke Masuda, Japanese Atoll Commander. Captain H. B. Grow, Atoll Commander of nearby Majuro, represented Admiral Harrill in the preliminary negotiations.
Witnessing the historic ceremony were Commodores B. H. Wyatt, Commander of Kwajalein Naval Air Base, of Williamsburg, Kentucky; Captain Grow, a native of Greenville, Michigan; Col. D. W. Johnston, Army Psychological Warfare Officer, of Alexandria, Virginia; Commander R. C. Jozro, III, Commander Escort Division 55, of Atlanta, Georgia; Lieut. Col. E. J. Moore, Long Beach, California; Commander W. C. Burehard, Medical Officer of Majuro, of San Francisco; Major W. E. Jenson, USMC, of Minneapolis; Lieut. Comdr. F. M. Keathley, Commanding Officer of the USS McConnell, of Corsiana, Texas; Lieut. Comdr. J. Grieve, Aide to Commodore Wyatt, of Los Angeles; Lieut. Comdr. A. R. Phipps, Aide to Commodore Harrill, of Denver, Colorado; Lieut. Comdr. R. F. Harper, Public Information Officer for ComMarGil Staff, of Philadelphia; Lieut. H. A. Breed, Executive Officer of the USS McConnell, of Louisville, Kentucky; Lieut. G. R. Harris, Liason and Psychological Warfare Officer, of New York City; Lieut. G. R. Mintoah, Aide to Captain Grow, of Palatine, Illinois; and Lieut. P. S. Perry, Public Information Officer for Majuro Atoll, of Berkley, California.
The flag raising was brief and simple. Colors were sounded, and Old Glory ascended while a detachment of U.S. Officers, sailors and marines stood at attention. Japs joined them in saluting the flag.
The Atoll, which was neutralized when Naval Forces occupied Kwajalein, Eniwetok and Majuro in the Marshalls, bares stark evidence to the intermittent air and sea bombardment it has undergone for the past year and ahalf. Desolation and bomb craters are everywhere.
Probably even worse on the Japs than the explosive punishment was the iron bond blockade the Navy threw about the place. They all appeared poorly fed, and their clothing is limited to scanty loincloths. Not a single ship or submarine is believed to have reached them in more than a year.
Present arrangements will allow the 2,000 Japs, survivors of an original garrison of 2,500, to remain on the atoll subsisting on their own grown vegetables. The Japanese will be segregated from the 1,200 natives remaining on the atoll.
In the lagoon with the McConnell are two other Destroyer Escorts, the Baron DE 166 and Wingfield DE 194, and two LCIs, the 392 and 481, standing by as a precautionary measure against any emergency that might have arisen. None did.
Jaluit is the second prewar held Jap territory in the Marshalls to surrender unconditionally. Mille was the first.
From: Commander Escort Division Eleven
Upon being relieved as ComCortDiv Eleven, I wish to express to all hands my great appreciation for the spirit and reputation which you have gained and maintained throughout our time together in the pacific. I regret we did not see more action or have some subs to our credit. Ours is the pride and satisfaction of having done well a necessary but unspectacular job. I am happy and proud to have been your Commander. Best wishes for your next cruise. Good speed and good hunting.
Captain F. W. Schmidt, USN
Submitted by: Norman Hale
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