Austin Shofner

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Austin Conner Shofner
Austin C. Shofner.jpg
Austin C. Shofner as Colonel, USMC
Nickname(s) Shifty
Born (1916-03-03)March 3, 1916
Bedford County, Tennessee
Died November 13, 1999(1999-11-13) (aged 83)
Shelbyville, Tennessee
Place of burial Shofner Lutheran Church Cemetery, Bedford County, Tennessee (35°26′49″N 86°19′48″W / 35.4470°N 86.3299°W / 35.4470; -86.3299)
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1937–1959
Rank Brigadier General
Commands held 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
1st Battalion, 1st Marines
Provost Marshal, 1st Marine Division
6th Marine Regiment

World War II

Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Order of the Cloud and Banner

Brigadier General Austin Conner Shofner was a United States Marine Corps officer who was captured during the Battle of Corregidor and then part of the only successful escape from a Japanese prisoner of war camp.[1] He joined the Philippine resistance, and later returned to command units of the Marine Corps in the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa.

Early life[edit]

Shofner attended the University of Tennessee where he was on the football and wrestling team. He graduated in 1937 with degrees in commerce and science, and was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps.[2]

World War II[edit]

Shofner was assigned to the 4th Marines in Shanghai. The Regiment was later transferred to the Philippine Islands. Shortly after the start of the war, Lt. Shofner was promoted to captain on 5 January 1942 and took command of a company in 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines that he led in the Battle of Corregidor.[3]

Captured at the surrender of the Philippines, Shofner escaped with a small group of nine other Americans, including William Dyess, Jack Hawkins, and Samuel Grashio,[4]:166 plus two Filipinos on 4 April 1943.[5] They made contact with anti-Japanese Filipinos who placed the party in touch with American Army and Filipino Scout guerrillas. Shofner was commissioned a major and later lieutenant colonel in and assigned to the 110th Division of guerrillas[6] as Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant Chief of Operations for the Division Shofner was awarded the Silver Star for his service on Corregidor and another Silver Star for his service with the guerrillas.[7]

Evacuated to Australia by the submarine USS Narwhal, Shofner briefed the American Pacific Command on Japanese atrocities. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General Douglas MacArthur.[8] Using his experiences, he helped plan the raid at Cabanatuan.

He commanded the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in the Battle of Peleliu, where he was wounded by mortar fire. In late 1944 he was assigned as a Marine Corps liaison and advisor on guerrilla affairs to the command of Douglas MacArthur for the invasion of Luzon.[9]

Shofner returned to command the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit, and became Provost Marshal of the 1st Marine Division in the Battle of Okinawa.

Later life[edit]

Following World War II Shofner served again in China, as a Naval Attache in Peru, and commanded the 6th Marines. He retired as a brigadier general in 1959.


  1. ^ "Tennessee General Assembly Resolution to honoring Brigadier General Shofner" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "RootsWeb: SHOFNER-L Gen. Austin Shofner of Shelbyville, TN". 
  3. ^ p. 20 Ambrose, Hugh. The Pacific Text Publishing, 2010
  4. ^ Dyess, W.E., 1944, The Dyess Story, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  5. ^ Melvin McCoy; S. M. Mellnik (February 7, 1944). "Prisoners of Japan". 16 (6). as told to Welbourn Kelly. Time, Inc. 
  6. ^ p.168 Ambrose
  7. ^ p. 199 Ambrose
  8. ^ p. 300 Lukacs, John D. Escape From Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War Simon and Schuster, 2010
  9. ^ p. 289 Ambrose

Further reading[edit]

  • Alan J. Levine (2000) Captivity, Flight, and Survival in World War II. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96955-X

External links[edit]