Devereux was the US Commander of Ground Forces on Wake Island in 1941. He was in command of 449 Marines and only had six 5-in guns, machine guns and twelve obsolete aircraft. On 7 December 1941 Wake Island came under attack from 36 Japanese bombers and Devereux lost seven fighters on that day. The following day he destroyed two Japanese bombers. After four days of bombing a Japanese landing party was dispatched and Devereux held back his fire for as long as possible. He damaged the Force’s flagship and sank two destroyers so the Japanese lost 700 men and withdrew in confusion. On their next attempt the Japanese made no mistake and the men of the 55th Division landed in an area out of the range of the batteries. They overwhelmed the Americans and Devereux and his men spent the rest of the war in captivity on Hokkaido.