The surrender ceremony that took place on the deck of the battleship Missouri (BB 63) in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, received the most attention and acclaim for marking the end of World War II. However, in the weeks leading up to that event, at islands scattered around the Pacific, smaller and less formal proceedings took place as Japanese garrisons surrendered to Allied forces. One such place was Marcus Island, which in August 1943, had been the target of strikes that marked the combat debuts of the Navy’s new Essex-class and Independence-class aircraft carriers.
Two years later, on August 31, 1945, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Francis Whiting, the destroyer Bagley (DD 386) arrived at Marcus Island. Later that day, on the deck of the destroyer, which had been moored at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941, Whiting accepted the surrender of the Japanese garrison on Marcus Island. An eyewitness to the events surrounding this ceremony was a hospital corpsman, Pharmacist’s Mate Joseph M. Clayworth, who left an account of his experiences and observations.