Macarthur Biography



| updated

Copy Link Code

The biography of Douglas MacArthur is centered on the U.S. Army, because he spent his entire life from birth to death connected to military life in some manner. MacArthur's biography begins with being born on an Army base in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 26, 1880. Douglas MacArthur's bio continues with his own life of military service and the effect it had on the man and those around him. It might be said that the MacArthur biography is the continuation of many lives, from his father and grandfather to that of his own. The General MacArthur biography includes the fact that he was born the third son of Arthur MacArthur, a decorated general who would eventually become the army's highest ranking officer. His mother was Mary Hardy MacArthur, a woman who came from a family that was also heavily involved in military service in Virginia, and whose brothers had all fought for the South during the Civil War. She strongly influenced Douglas MacArthur's life and the MacArthur biography.

Father and family

Douglas MacArthur's father, Arthur MacArthur, was a captain in the army when the third son was born. He had been well decorated for his Union Army service throughout the Civil War. Arthur commanded an infantry company that was in charge of defending settlers from the Indians when Douglas was born, but he missed the glamour and thrill of the days of war he had experienced as a teenager when he won the Congressional Medal of Honor for a courageous assault in Tennessee.

Douglas MacArthur's family moved often, which made it hard for them to ever feel settled. These moves were especially hard on his mother, a Southern lady who had come from genteel ways to raising a family in isolated and dirty outposts all across the U.S. Douglas, though, saw these barren locations as great opportunities to be a boy; he loved the rough and ready life of a military family. Douglas once said, "My first memory was the sound of bugles."

In 1886, Arthur moved the family to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where Douglas's mother remarked she could "finally introduce her boys to civilization." Three years later, they moved to Washington, D.C. for Arthur to take his post with the War Department. The Douglas MacArthur family never seemed to be very settled, a fact that followed Douglas throughout the rest of his life.


Douglas MacArthur's childhood and formative years changed once he reached Washington. He was then able to spend time with his grandfather, Judge Arthur MacArthur, who was also an accomplished man. It was through his grandfather's association with the elite of Washington society that Douglas learned a MacArthur had to be a gentleman and a scholar; they were marked traits that people expected from his family.

In late 1893, the MacArthur family was transferred to San Antonio, Texas, one of the most notable of army installations. Douglas was excited to leave the city life and return to the more "manly" ways of living to which he was so accustomed. His brother, Arthur III, had already graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1892, and Douglas entered the West Texas Military Academy.

Education and Religion

At the West Texas Military Academy, Douglas MacArthur's education took a positive turn; he developed an interest in acquiring knowledge, especially about history, based on the influence of his grandfather and his desire to "live up to" the MacArthur name. Douglas also joined several of the Academy's sports teams, graduating as a star student, both in academics and sports. Today, his academic achievements are noted by having Douglas MacArthur schools located in several states.

Douglas MacArthur's education continued with enrollment into the military academy at West Point. He excelled as a student and as an athlete. He was a popular and very social young man, a favorite of the ladies at dances and other social engagements. During his fourth and final year at West Point, MacArthur was appointed the rank of first captain in recognition of his leadership qualities; he became commander of all the cadets. In 1903, MacArthur graduated West Point at the very top of his class and with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers. He spent some time with his parents in San Francisco, California before heading to the Philippines, his first military assignment to a country that would become so much a part of the MacArthur's life.

Douglas MacArthur's religion was Episcopalian, though he seldom attended church, preferring instead to work rather than go to Sunday services. When he finally conquered Seoul from the North Korean army, he is said to have led the parliament of South Korea in the Lord's Prayer in recognition of the Korean president's known preference for the Methodist Church. After his retirement, MacArthur attended St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City, where the clergy and bishops presided over his funeral.

Wife and children

Douglas MacArthur's first wife was Henrietta Louise Cromwell Brooks, a beautiful Washington, D.C. socialite who had been previously married to Walter Brooks. MacArthur and Brooks were married in 1922 and divorced in 1929. They had no children.

His second wife was Jean Marie Faircloth of Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of a prominent banker, whom he married in 1937; there was eighteen years difference in their ages. Her grandfather was a captain in the Confederate army which started her never ending love of uniforms, both military and otherwise. General MacArthur and Jean had one son, Arthur MacArthur IV, the namesake of the general's father and grandfather.

Douglas MacArthur's death occurred on April 14, 1964 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.


Douglas MacArthur awards were many, both related to his military service and for other recognitions. The following is a list of such awards.

  • Medal of Honor
  • Distinguished Service Cross (with two oak leaves)
  • Army Distinguished Service Medal (with four oak leaf clusters)
  • Navy Distinguished Service Medal
  • Silver Star (with six oak leaf clusters)
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Bronze Star with Valor
  • Air Medal
  • Presidential Unit Citation (with six oak leaf clusters)
  • Philippine Campaign Medal
  • Mexican Service Medal
  • World War I Victory Medal (with five battle clasps)
  • Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
  • American Defense Service Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with two service stars and an arrowhead device)
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal (with a Japan clasp)
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Korean Service Medal
  • United Nations Service Medal
  • Combat Infantryman Badge (honorary)
  • Command Aviator Badge (honorary)
  • Army General Staff Identification Badge
  • Overseas Service Bars (fourteen of them)
  • Expert Rifle Badge
  • Expert Pistol Badge


Douglas MacArthur accomplishments are mainly related to his long military career; some of the more notable ones are:

  • Graduation from West Point as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers
  • Served and Officer-in-Charge at the Leavenworth's Staff College
  • Served with the War Department in Washington, D.C.
  • Was promoted to Major and made the Army's first public relations officer
  • Served as Chief of Staff with the Rainbow 42nd Division during World War I
  • Promoted to Brigadier General and Commander of the 84th Infantry Brigade; the youngest ever
  • Appointed Superintendent of West Point
  • Became the youngest ever Two Star General in the U.S. Army
  • Was selected to develop and train the Philippine Army when Spain lost control of the country

Douglas MacArthur facts

Douglas MacArthur facts include the following interesting points:

  • Douglas MacArthur was named for his uncle, General Douglas MacArthur
  • His only occupation during his lifetime was in the U.S. Army, serving in many capacities
  • Douglas MacArthur was born in the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas, January 26, 1880
  • He attended the West Point Military Academy, graduating with an academic average of 97.33%
  • General MacArthur died on April 5, 1964 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C.
  • He is buried at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia
  • General MacArthur is most widely known as Commander of Allied Forces in the Pacific Theatre during World War II


The Douglas MacArthur timeline of major events in his life and career is as follows:

  • January 26, 1880 Born in Little Rock, Arkansas at the Arsenal Barracks
  • June 11, 1903 Graduated from West Point top in his class
  • 1903 - 1904 Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers in Philippines
  • April 1904 Promoted to First Lieutenant
  • 1904 - 1906 Served as an aide to commander of Pacific Division
  • 1906 - 1908 Aide to President Theodore Roosevelt
  • 1908-1912 Promoted to a captain and was Troop commander and instructor at Army Service Schools in Kansas
  • 1913 - 1917 General Staff of the Army
  • December 1915 Promoted to major
  • August 1917 Promoted to colonel
  • 1917 - 1918 Chief of Staff of 42nd Division in France
  • June 1918 Became youngest man ever to be promoted to brigadier general of the army
  • 1919 - 1922 Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • 1922 Married Louise Cromwell Brooks; divorced her in 1929
  • January 1925 Promoted to Major General
  • 1922 - 1930 Commanded troops in the Philippines; promoted to temporary general
  • 1930 - 1935 Chief of staff of the U.S. Army
  • 1935 - 1941 Military advisor to Philippine government
  • 1937 Married Jean Faircloth
  • December 1937 Retired from active military service; continued as advisor to the Philippines
  • July 1941 Recalled to active duty as Commander, U.S. Army in the Far East
  • December 1941 Promoted to temporary general
  • 1941 - 1945 Supreme Allied Commander in Pacific and in Japan; received Medal of Honor
  • April 1946 Promoted to permanent General of the Army
  • 1947 Became Commander in Chief of the Far East Command
  • July 1950 Designated as Commander, United Nations Command in the Far East
  • April 1951 Relieved of his command by President Harry Truman due to differences in strategy regarding the Korean War; Truman called it "insubordination"
  • 1952 Lost nomination for president; became Chairman of Remington Rand
  • April 5, 1964 Died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C.