5 Things You Didn't Know About General Douglas MacArthur

On October 20, 1944, Douglas MacArthur returned with troops to the Philippines to wrest the country from its Japanese occupation, keeping his promise of “I shall return.” Here are 5 things you might not know about General MacArthur...


Both MacArthur And His Father Received Medals of Honor They hold the honor of being the first father and son duo to receive this award.  Douglas MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1942 for his outstanding leadership during the invasion of the Philippines during World War II. The general’s father, Arthur MacArthur Jr., had received the Medal of Honor at age 18 for his participation at the Battle of Missionary Ridge in 1863 during the Civil War. When Theodore Roosevelt posthumously received the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his service during the Spanish-American War, he and son Theodore Roosevelt Jr. became the second father-son pair to receive the award.

Only Two Other Cadets Surpassed His Performance at West Point MacArthur’s mother was so intent on his doing well when he attended West Point that she moved there and lived in a hotel on the campus grounds while he attended school there. In 1903, he ended up graduating first out of a group of 94 cadets with 2,424 academic merits out of the maximum of 2,470. This score still stands as the third highest in the history of the academy. The highest scores are held by Charles Mason, a supreme court judge who lived in Iowa, and General Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederate troops during the Civil War. 


He Vomited on The Front Steps of The White House In 1934, MacArthur and President Franklin Roosevelt got into a heated discussion in the White House Oval Office over Roosevelt’s proposed military cuts. The general later recounted that he “spoke recklessly and said something to the general effect that when we lost the next war, and an American boy, lying in the mud with an enemy bayonet through his belly and an enemy foot on his dying throat, spat out his last curse, I wanted the name not to be MacArthur, but Roosevelt.” Realizing he might have gone too far, MacArthur offered to resign his post, but Roosevelt refused.  Still nauseous from the confrontation, MacArthur got sick on the White House steps after leaving the meeting.

MacArthur Received a Ticker Tape Parade After His Firing. On April 11, 1951, President Harry Truman relieved General MacArthur from his Korean War command for insubordination after the general publicly criticized the president’s conduct of the war. MacArthur, more popular than the president at the time, received a hero’s welcome upon his arrival back in the United States. On April 20, 1951, he was greeted in New York by a ticker-tape parade complete with cheering crowds and confetti. A day before, he had addressed Congress in a joint session and closed his speech with “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

A Football Trophy Is Awarded in His Name MacArthur loved football even though he played shortstop for his school’s baseball team when he was in high school. He was the student manager for the military academy’s football team and one of the founders of the National Football Foundation, which since 1959 has awarded the MacArthur Bowl to the top college football team in the United States. The 25-pound silver trophy is shaped like a football stadium and features this quote from the general: “There is no substitute for victory."