Douglas MacArthur

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign. Arthur MacArthur, Jr., and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to each be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of general of the army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.

Douglas MacArthur was raised as a military brat in the American Old West. He attended the West Texas Military Academy, where he was valedictorian, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was First Captain and graduated top of the class of 1903. During the 1914 United States occupation of Veracruz he conducted a reconnaissance mission, for which he was nominated for the Medal of Honor. In 1917, he was promoted from major to colonel and became chief of staff of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division. In the fighting on the Western Front during World War I he rose to the rank of brigadier general, was again nominated for a Medal of Honor, and was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as well as the Silver Star seven times.

From 1919 to 1922, MacArthur served as Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he attempted a series of reforms. His next assignment was in the Philippines, where in 1924 he was instrumental in quelling the Philippine Scout Mutiny. In 1925, he became the Army's youngest major general. He served on the court martial of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell and was president of the United States Olympic Committee during the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. In 1930 he became Chief of Staff of the United States Army. As such, he was involved with the expulsion of the Bonus Army protesters from Washington, D.C., in 1932, and the establishment and organization of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1937 to become Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.

MacArthur was recalled to active duty in 1941 as commander of U.S. Army Forces Far East. A series of disasters followed, starting with the destruction of his air force on December 8, 1941, and the invasion of the Philippines by the Japanese. MacArthur's forces were soon compelled to withdraw to Bataan, where they held out until May 1942. In March 1942, MacArthur, his family and his staff left Corregidor Island in PT boats, and escaped to Australia, where MacArthur became Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area. For his defense of the Philippines, MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor. After more than two years of fighting in the Pacific, he fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines. He officially accepted Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945, and oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. As the effective ruler of Japan, he oversaw sweeping economic, political and social changes. He led the United Nations Command in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951. On April 11, 1951, MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman. He later became Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand.

Education and early life

Douglas MacArthur was born January 26, 1880, at the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his father, a soldier, was stationed. Douglas was the youngest of three sons, following Arthur III, born on August 1, 1876, and Malcolm, born on October 17, 1878.[1] Malcolm died of measles in 1883.[2] His parents were Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., at the time a U.S. Army captain and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for action during the American Civil War, and Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky") from Norfolk, Virginia.[3] Douglas MacArthur was the grandson of jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur, Sr., a Scottish immigrant.[4] Douglas was raised on a succession of Army posts in the American Old West. In his memoir, Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote "I learned to ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk."[5]

This time on the frontier ended in July 1889 when the MacArthur family moved to Washington, D.C.,[6] where Douglas attended the Force Public School. His father was posted to San Antonio, Texas in September 1893. While there Douglas attended the West Texas Military Academy,[7] where he was awarded the gold medal for "scholarship and deportment." He also participated on the school tennis team, and played quarterback on the school football team and shortstop on its baseball team. He was named valedictorian, with a final year average of 97.33 out of 100.[8] In May 1896 his father was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and in January he was reassigned to the Department of Dakota at St Paul, Minnesota; the family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[7] MacArthur's father and grandfather unsuccessfully sought to secure Douglas a presidential appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, first from President Grover Cleveland and then from President William McKinley.[9] After these two rejections,[10] he passed an examination for an appointment from Congressman Theobald Otjen,[7] scoring 93.3 on the test.[9] He later wrote: "It was a lesson I never forgot. Preparedness is the key to success and victory."[7]

MacArthur entered West Point on June 13, 1899,[11] and his mother also moved there to a suite at Craney's Hotel, overlooking the grounds of the Academy.[12] Hazing was widespread at West Point at this time, and MacArthur and his classmate Ulysses S. Grant III were singled out for special attention by southern cadets as sons of generals with mothers living at Craney's. Cadet Oscar Booz left West Point after being hazed and subsequently died of tuberculosis. Booz's parents attacked West Point policies and brought about a congressional inquiry in 1901. MacArthur was called to appear before a special Congressional committee where he was questioned about cadets implicated in hazing. MacArthur downplayed his own hazing even though the other cadet that testified gave the full story of MacArthur's hazing to the committee. In 1901, Congress outlawed acts "of a harassing, tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature".[13] MacArthur was a corporal in Company B in his second year, a first sergeant in Company A in his third year and First Captain in his final year.[14] He played left field for the baseball team and academically earned 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14. He graduated first in his 93-man class.[15] At the time it was customary for the top-ranking cadets to be commissioned into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in that corps upon graduation on June 11, 1903.[16]

Junior officer

MacArthur spent his graduation furlough with his parents at Fort Mason, California, where his father, now a major general, was serving as commander of the Department of the Pacific. Afterward, he joined the 3rd Engineer Battalion, which departed for the Philippines in October 1903. MacArthur was sent to Iloilo, where he supervised the construction of a wharf at Camp Jossman. He went on to conduct surveys at Tacloban City, Calbayog City and Cebu City. In November 1903, while working on Guimaras, he was ambushed by a pair of Filipino brigands or guerrillas; he shot and killed both with his pistol.[17] He passed his examinations for promotion to first lieutenant in Manila in March 1904 and was promoted to the rank in April.[18] In October 1904 his tour of duty was cut short when he contracted malaria and dhobi itch during a survey on Bataan. He returned to San Francisco, where he was assigned to the California Debris Commission. In July 1905 he became chief engineer of the Division of the Pacific.[19]

In October 1905 MacArthur received orders to proceed to Tokyo for appointment as aide-de-camp to his father. They inspected Japanese military bases at Nagasaki, Kobe and Kyoto, then headed to India via Shanghai, Hong Kong, Java and Singapore, reaching Calcutta in January 1906. In India they visited Madras, Tuticorin, Quetta, Karachi, the Northwest Frontier and the Khyber Pass. They then sailed to China via Bangkok and Saigon, and toured Canton, Tsingtao, Peking, Tientsin, Hankow and Shanghai before returning to Japan in June. The next month they returned to the United States,[20] where Arthur MacArthur resumed his duties at Fort Mason, with Douglas still his aide. In September, Douglas received orders to report to the 2nd Engineer Battalion at the Washington Barracks and enroll in the Engineer School. While there he also served as "an aide to assist at White House functions" at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt.[21]

In August 1907 MacArthur was sent to the engineer district office in Milwaukee, where his parents were now living. In April 1908 he was posted to Fort Leavenworth, where he was given his first command, Company K, 3rd Engineer Battalion.[21] He became battalion adjutant in 1909 and then engineer officer at Fort Leavenworth in 1910. MacArthur was promoted to captain in February 1911 and was appointed as head of the Military Engineering Department and the Field Engineer School. He participated in exercises at San Antonio, Texas with the Maneuver Division in 1911 and served in Panama on detached duty in January and February 1912. The sudden death of their father on September 5, 1912 brought Douglas and his brother Arthur back to Milwaukee to care for their mother, whose health had deteriorated. MacArthur requested a transfer to Washington, D.C. so his mother could be near Johns Hopkins Hospital. Army Chief of Staff, Major General Leonard Wood took up the matter with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, who arranged for MacArthur to be posted to the Office of the Chief of Staff in 1912.[22]

Veracruz expedition

On April 21, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the occupation of Veracruz. A headquarters staff was sent to the area that included MacArthur, who arrived on May 1, 1914. MacArthur realized that the logistic support of an advance from Veracruz would require the use of the railroad. Finding plenty of railroad cars in Veracruz but no locomotives, MacArthur set out to verify a report that there were a number of locomotives in Alvarado, Veracruz. For $150 in gold, he acquired a handcar and the services of three Mexicans, whom he disarmed. MacArthur and his party located five engines in Alvarado, two of which were only switchers, but the other three locomotives were exactly what was required. On the way back to Veracruz, his party were set upon by five armed men. The party made a run for it and outdistanced all but two of the armed men, whom MacArthur shot. Soon after, the party were attacked by a group of about fifteen horsemen. MacArthur took three bullet holes in his clothes but was unharmed. One of his companions was lightly wounded before the horsemen finally decided to retire after MacArthur shot four of them. Further on, the party were attacked a third time by three mounted men. MacArthur received another bullet hole in his shirt, but the party, using their handcart, managed to outrun all but one of the mounted men. MacArthur shot both that man and his horse, and the party had to remove the horse's carcass from the track before proceeding.[23]

A fellow officer wrote to Wood recommending that MacArthur's name be put forward for the Medal of Honor. Wood did so, and Chief of Staff Hugh L. Scott convened a board to consider the award.[24] The board questioned "the advisability of this enterprise having been undertaken without the knowledge of the commanding general on the ground".[25] This was Brigadier General Frederick Funston, a Medal of Honor recipient himself, who considered awarding the medal to MacArthur "entirely appropriate and justifiable."[26] However the board feared that "to bestow the award recommended might encourage any other staff officer, under similar conditions, to ignore the local commander, possibly interfering with the latter's plans"; consequently, MacArthur received no award at all.[27]