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A giant of a man
How many times have you heard General Douglas MacArtur called "a giant of
a man". How many times have you seen him towering above subordinates.
MacArthur (1880-1964) was a brilliant and controversial figure. During WWI
he was Chief of Staff, a brigade leader and commander of the 42nd Rainbow
Division of the Allied Expeditionary Force in France, where he distinguished
himself and was wounded He was a brilliant superintendent at West Point
(1919-1922) where he broadened the curriculum, raised academic standards and
reorganized the athletic program. He held two Philippine commands and two
corps area commands and in 1928 headed the US Olympic Committee. He became a
full General in 1930.
He retired from the Army in 1937 and returned to active duty in 1941 and
for his actions in the Philippines was awarded the Medal of Honor.
As director of the Allied occupation of Japan he governed from 1945-51
autocratically but progressively. He introduced land reform redistribution,
disarmament and the inauguration of a liberal constitution. Those of us who
were there know that the Japanese, and a lot of us, worshiped him as a God.
When North Korean troops INVADED South Korea in June 1950, MacArthur was
named supreme United Nations commander and although his troops were few in
number and poorly trained he checked the enemy advance near Pusan. In
September he conducted a masterfull amphibious landing at Inchon and rolled
the shattered foe back toward the Manchurian border. He was charged with
insubordination by President Harry S. Truman and relieved of his command
April 11, 1951.
Korea would have been an entirely different war with MacArthur and the
world would have been an entirely diffent place.
General MacArthur had the 'book" on the Chinese and was convinced that we
could have subdued that country in a matter of days. Occupation had nothing
to do with it and was not in his plans. He was interested in taking out the
Chinese bases that we have talked about in Manchuria.
But the rest of the story... General Douglas MacArthur... the giant of a
man, was 5' 6" in his stocking feet. Closer to Napolean Bonaparte and George
McClelland than to, say, Abraham Lincoln. But I, 6' 4" ,for one was proud to
have served under him