United States World War II General of the Army (5 stars). Fought in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. His awards include the Medal of Honor, 3 Distinguished Service Crosses, 4 Distinguished Service Medals, 7 Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star (with V for Valor) and 2 Purple Hearts). He was one of the youngest General officers in modern US history. He and his father are the first father-son Medal of Honor recipients in US history (President Theodore Roosevelt and his son, General Theodore Jr, are currently the only other father-son recipients). He was considered brilliant, gifted with both strategic insight and superior command ability, courageous, yet aloof, egotistical and imperious. The last of 3 children born to Lt. General Arthur MacArthur and Mary Pinkney Hardy, he attended the US Military Academy, West Point, graduating first in his class of 1903, and setting an academic record that has yet to be equaled. During World War I, he rose rapidly in rank, becoming Major General and commander of the 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow Division). He was constantly at the front, exposing himself to the same danger as his men, and was twice wounded. He earned 2 DSCs, the DSM, and 7 Silver Star Medals during this war. After the war, he married the former Louise Brooks, in 1922, and there were no children to this marriage. He was Superintendent of West Point in 1919-1922. In 1928, he became Commanding General of the Philippine Department, making many influential friends which would have later impact on his life. From 1930 to 1935, he became Chief of Staff, US Army, and promoted to General (4 stars), the highest rank the Army could then make him. During this period, he ironically took a dislike to Colonel George C. Marshall, and attempted to end Marshall's career by giving him a dead-end assignment. He retired from the Army in 1937, and at the request of President Manuel Quezon, became Commander of the Philippine Army. There he met and married Jean Faircloth, who became his devoted wife for the remainder of his life; they had one child, a son. Jean MacArthur accompanied her husband in all of his future jobs, never leaving his side, and sharing his hardships. When the US entered World War II, General MacArthur was recalled to active duty in the US Army, and conducted a brilliant but unsuccessful defense of the Philippines, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Prepared to surrender with his forces in the Philippines, he was personally ordered to Australia by President Roosevelt, where he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, US Armed Forces, Southwest Pacific. He was promoted to General of the Army (equivelent to the European rank of Field Marshal) in 1944. In September 1945, he personally accepted the surrender of Japan aboard the battleship USS Missouri. From 1945 to 1951, he was the Military Governor of occupied Japan, and personally wrote most of the Japanese constitution. His actions during this period won great praise from the Japanese for bringing them back into the modern world, following the excesses of the war. In 1950, he was appointed Supreme Commander, United Nations Forces in Korea, when the Korean War began. In perhaps the most controversial time of his life, President Truman fired him on April 11, 1951, for reasons still debated today. Upon his return to the US, MacArthur was given a ticker-tape parade in NYC, and was allowed the honor to address a joint session of Congress. There was an unsuccessful attempt by Republicans to have him run for President in 1952, but he deferred, and the nomination went to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower. After retirement, he became Chairman of the Board for the Remington Rand Corporation, and spent his remaining years in NYC, speaking out on public issues. His final address, in January 1962, to the graduating class at West Point is considered one of his finest speeches. His Medal of Honor citation reads "For conspicuous leadership in preparing the Philippine Islands to resist conquest, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against invading Japanese forces, and for the heroic conduct of defensive and offensive operations on the Bataan Peninsula. He mobilized, trained, and led an army which has received world acclaim for its gallant defense against a tremendous superiority of enemy forces in men and arms. His utter disregard of personal danger under heavy fire and aerial bombardment, his calm judgment in each crisis, inspired his troops, galvanized the spirit of resistance of the Filipino people, and confirmed the faith of the American people in their Armed Forces."
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson