About this Famous Person
American general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army
Douglas MacArthur was born at the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his parents were stationed at the time. He was the youngest of three sons, the others being Arthur MacArthur III, born on August 1, 1876, and Malcolm on October 17, 1878. Malcolm died of measles in 1883. His parents were Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., at the time a U.S. Army captain, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for the American Civil War, and Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur (nicknamed "Pinky") of Norfolk, Virginia. Douglas MacArthur was the grandson of jurist and politician Arthur MacArthur, Sr., a Scottish immigrant. Douglas was raised as a military brat on a succession of Army posts in the American Old West. In his memoir, Reminiscences, MacArthur wrote that "I learned to ride and shoot even before I could read or write—indeed, almost before I could walk and talk."
This time on the frontier ended in July 1889 when the MacArthur family moved to Washington, DC, where Douglas attended the Force Public School on Massachusetts Avenue. His father was posted to San Antonio, Texas in September 1893. While there Douglas attended the West Texas Military Academy, where he was an excellent student, winning the gold medal for the "highest standing in scholarship and deportment." He was also the school tennis champion, played quarterback on the undefeated school football team, and shortstop on its baseball team. He was also valedictorian, with a final year average of 97.33. 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 and the family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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. After these two rejections, he passed a competitive examination for a congressional appointment from Congressman Theobald Otjen, scoring 93.3 on the test, sixteen points higher than his nearest competitor. He later wrote: "It was a lesson I never forgot. Preparedness is the key to success and victory."
MacArthur entered West Point on June 13, 1899 and his mother also moved there to a suite at Craney's Hotel, overlooking the grounds of the Academy. 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 savagely 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 also 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." MacArthur was a corporal in Company B in his second year, a first sergeant in Company A in his third year and First Captain, the highest ranking senior cadet, in his final year. He played left field for the baseball team and academically, he was an outstanding cadet, earning 2424.12 merits out of a possible 2470.00 or 98.14. He graduated first in his 93-man class in 1903. On graduation June 11, 1903 MacArthur was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it being the custom at that time for the top ranking cadets to be commissioned into that corps.
- Category World Wars & Contemporary Wars