Douglas MacArthur, United States ArmyGeneral began his career in 1899, served in three major military conflicts and held the highest military office of the United States and of the Philippines during that service.
1900: Is the victim of hazing and becomes involved in a serious scandal where one Cadet is left dead by upperclassman abuse. During the investigation he implicates only cadets who were already expelled from West Point or had previously confessed.
1917 – 1918: Becomes Chief of Staff of the 42nd Division and is credited with naming it the "Rainbow Division". Joins the American Expeditionary Force bound for France. Departs U.S. for France in November 1917.
June 1918: Appointed a Brigadier General in the National Army and in August is appointed as Commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade. Briefly commands the 42nd Division from 10 to 22 November 1918.
1918 – 1919: Receives two Distinguished Service Crosses and seven Silver Star Citations (later converted to Silver Stars) for battlefield leadership and bravery and also is wounded in action and gassed by the enemy. Was known for personally leading troops into battle, often without a weapon of his own. Begins to develop a negative relationship with General of the ArmiesJohn Pershing, after feeling that Pershing is wasting the lives of his troops with bad military tactics.
May 1919: Returns to the United States as a hero, but is distraught over the lack of recognition his Rainbow Division receives for actions in France.
January 20, 1920: Appointed as a brigadier general in the Regular Army. Is one of the few officers who retain their wartime rank. Receives a negative evaluation report from Pershing, now Chief of Staff, who ranks Macarthur 38 out of 45 generals and states that MacArthur has an "exalted view of himself and should remain in his present grade for several years".
November 1, 1922: Becomes Commanding General, District of Manila, in the Philippines.
June 29, 1923: While still serving as District of Manila Commander, also becomes commander of the 23rd Infantry Brigade.
January 17, 1925: Promoted to major general, becoming the youngest two-star general in the U.S. Army. Returns to the United States to become a corps commander.
May 1, 1925: Assigned as 4th Corps Area Commander, encompassing the southeastern states with headquarters in Atlanta. Quickly reassigned as local residents did not welcome MacArthur because his father was a Union officer during the Civil War.
August 1, 1925 – September 3, 1928: Serves as 3rd Corps Area Commander, with headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.
December 31, 1937: Retires from the Army at his own request. Placed on the retired list as a four-star general.
1937 – 1941: Civilian adviser to the Philippine Government on military matters. Is appointed a Field Marshal in the Philippine Army, the only American officer in history accorded with that rank. Begins wearing the "scrambled eggs" cap often associated with him.
February–March 1942: Roosevelt orders MacArthur to leave the Philippines and base in himself in Australia; on March 20, in Terowie, South Australia, MacArthur promises, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return."
1943 – 1944: argues with the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding reconquest of the Philippine Islands. Chiefs propose bypass; MacArthur appeals to President Roosevelt.
October 1944: MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines. U.S forces landed at Leyte and began reconquest of Philippines.
December 1944: Promoted to the newly created rank of General of the Army becoming second highest ranking active duty officer of the U.S. Army, second only to George Marshall.
1944 – 1945: Due to logistics issues the Joint Chiefs decided to invade the Philippine Islands. MacArthur again must fight to convince his superiors to invade the entire Philippine Islands, whereas initial plans call for only an invasion of the south. The Joint Chiefs at last agreed that MacArthur is to invade the Philippine Islands at Leyte Gulf and strike toward Manila.
February 5, 1945: Forces under MacArthur's command liberate Manila.
Summer 1945: in Manila to plan invasions of Japan in October, 1945. Is stunned by the news of the use of the atomic bomb, and is quoted as saying that "this apparatus will make men like me obsolete".
September 2, 1945: Presided over the Japanese surrender ceremony and is appointed military governor of Japanese home islands. Threatens the Soviet Union with armed conflict should Red Army soldiers attempt to occupy any part of Japan.
September 15, 1950: Leads UN forces at the Battle of Inchon, seen as one of the greatest military maneuvers in history
October 15, 1950: Meets with President Truman on Wake Island after heavy disagreements develop regarding the conduct of the Korean War. When meeting Truman, it is very noticeable that MacArthur does not salute his Commander-in-Chief but rather offers a handshake. Truman awards MacArthur a fourth oak leaf cluster on his Distinguished Service Medal.
November – December 1950: With China committed to all-out war against the US on the Korean peninsula, MacArthur advocates for the same in return against China but is prohibited. He is outraged when military leaders in Washington restrict the war to only the Korean theater, meaning that he cannot bomb even the bridges of the Yalu river over which Chinese troops, supplies, and material are streaming across. He is further restricted from bombing their bases in Manchuria. MacArthur expressed his outrage later, saying that "The order not to bomb the Yalu bridges was the most indefensible and ill-conceived decision ever forced on a field commander in our nation's history."
April 11, 1951: After several public criticisms of White House policy in Korea, which were seen as undercutting the Commander-in-Chief's position, Harry Truman removes MacArthur from command and orders him to return to the United States. Some suggest Truman may have exchanged MacArthur for a sound nuclear policy in Korea since he did not trust "Brass Hat MacArthur" with nuclear weapons. Some disagree with this, however, since (as David Horowitz noted in The Free World Colossus) MacArthur later came out against Truman's use of the bomb against Japan and there seems to be no concrete evidence of a major change in his views.
May 1951: Retires a second time from the U.S. Army, but is listed as permanently on active duty due to the regulations regarding those who hold the rank of General of the Army. For administrative reasons, he is assigned in absentee to the office of the Army Chief of Staff
1952: Allows name to be placed on primary ballots for Republican nomination, but does not campaign or announce as a candidate. Senator Robert Taft promises supporters to name MacArthur as candidate for Vice President, but Taft loses nomination to Eisenhower.
1955: Is considered for promotion to the rank of General of the Armies. The promotion does not take place, various difficulties having arisen.
In 1955, a bill was in the early stages of consideration by the United States Congress which would have authorized the President of the United States to promote Douglas MacArthur to the rank of General of the Armies (a similar measure had also been proposed unsuccessfully in 1945). However, because of several complications which would arise if such a promotion were to take place, the bill was withdrawn.
A graphic representation of Douglas MacArthur's American military ribbons, as they would be displayed today.
During his military career, General MacArthur was awarded the following decorations from the United States and other allied nations. The list below is of those medals worn on a military uniform, and does not include commemorative medals, unofficial decorations, and non-portable awards.
On January 17, 1936, MacArthur was made a Freemason at sight by Samuel Hawthorne, Grand Master of Masons in the Philippines in a two-hour ceremony. After being raised to the degree of Master Mason, MacArthur joined Manila Lodge No.1. On October 19, 1937, he was elected Knight Commander Court of Honor, and on December 8, 1947, he was coroneted to the honorary 33rd Degree at the American Embassy in Tokyo. He was also a life member of the Nile Shrine in Seattle, Washington.