In November 1863, a Union officer by the name of Arthur MacArthur was part of the Union Army at Chattanooga, Tennessee that was under siege by Confederate troops. Upon receiving reinforcements, the Union forces began attacking the Confederate stronghold on Lookout Mountain, including Missionary Ridge. Leading the charge up Missionary Ridge was 18-year-old Arthur MacArthur who planted his unit’s flag atop Missionary Ridge. Arthur was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on Missionary Ridge. He continued his army career attaining the rank of Lieutenant General.
On January 26, 1880, the Captain Arthur MacArthur and his wife Mary welcomed a son and named him Douglas. He was born at the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas.
On June 13, 1899, Douglas MacArthur begins schooling at West Point.
On June 11, 1903, Douglas graduated as valedictorian from West Point as a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers.
By the start of World War I, Douglas MacArthur served in the Philippines, Japan, Mexico and France and was promoted to the rank of Major.
After the US entered World War I, MacArthur was promoted to Colonel and given command of the 42nd Division (known as the Rainbow Division), which was composed of National Guard troops from a number of states.
In 1918, MacArthur and the Rainbow Division take part in the St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Sedan offensives where MacArthur proved his able military leadership abilities.
On June 1, 1919, MacArthur was assigned to be the Superintendent of West Point. During his three years at West Point, MacArthur married Louise Cromwell Brooks and was promoted to Brigadier General.
On November 21, 1930, MacArthur was promoted to Army Chief of Staff. Much of his time and effort was spend trying to rebuild the Army after the devastating effects of the Great Depression.
In 1935, MacArthur was named Military Advisor to the Philippines by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On August 24, 1936, MacArthur named Field Marshall of the Philippines.
In July 1941, MacArthur was recalled to active military duty and given the position of Commander of the US Forces in the Pacific.
On December 7, 1941, Japan not only attacked Pearl Harbor but they also attacked the Philippines, guan, Malaya, Shanghai and Thailand.
On December 10, 1941, Japanese landing forces invade the Philippines.
By the end of January, 1942, the Japanese had driven the 75,000 American and Filipino troops out onto the Bataan peninsula, located across Manilla Bay from the capital. For three months the American and Filipino forces tried to hold off the Japanese, but they had no air or naval support. They had run out of most of their supplies and many of the men were sick and/or starving.
On March 12 1942, MacArthur, under orders from President Roosevelt, was forced to leave the Philippines. Upon his departure from Corregidor in the Philippines, MacArthur uttered his famous promise:
“I came through and I shall return”
On March 18, 1942, Roosevelt appointed MacArthur as Commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater.
On April 9, 1942, Major General Edward King went against his orders from General Douglas MacArthur and surrendered his troops to the Japanese, knowing they could no longer hold out and resist.
Days later, the Japanese began marching the American and Filipino prisoners through the jungle to a train depot where they would be taken to a prisoner-of-war camp. Thousands of US soldiers died along the Bataan Death March from starvation, disease and at the hands of the Japanese. Many more died while in the prisoner-of-war camp.
After the surrender on Bataan, the Japanese turned their attention to the American forces on Corregidor, located in the mouth of Manilla Bay and some smaller scattered forces on other locations in the Philippines. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright was in charge of the more than 12,000 Americans on the island. Just before General King surrendered Bataan to the Japanese, he had all of the female nurses ferried out to Corregidor.
After MacArthur’s departure and promise to return, MacArthur was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts to protect the Philippines from the Japanese. This made him and his father the first father and son Medal recipients.
On May 12, 1942, the last remaining US troops in the Philippines surrender to the Japanese.
On this day, October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur arrives back in the Philippines after the US Sixth Army had secured the beach on Leyte. After walking onto the beach, MacArthur later addresses the troops and people of the Philippines, saying:
“People of the Philippines, I have returned.”
On December 15, 1944, US troops land on Mindoro in the Philippines.
On January 3, 1945, MacArthur is given command of all US ground forces as the US prepared for massive invasions of Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan.
On January 9, 1945, US Sixth Army invades Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippines.
On February 3,1945, US Sixth Army attacks Japanese at Manilla, capital of the Philippines.
On March 3, 1945, US and Filipino forces capture Manilla from Japanese.
On March 10, 1945, US 8th Army invaded Zamboanga Peninsula on Mindanao, Philippines.
On April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt dies and Harry Truman becomes president.
On May 8, 1945, VE Day – victory in Europe declared.
On June 9, 1945, Japanese Premier Suzuki tells world that Japan continue to fight to the very end rather than accept terms of an unconditional surrender.
On June 18, 1945, Japanese begin to end fighting on Mindanao.
On June 28, 1945, MacArthur’s headquarters in the Philippines issues statement that Japanese resistance in the Philippines has ended.
On July 5, 1945, MacArthur had successfully regained US control over the Philippines.
Sources for the above includes: Douglas MacArthur; Douglas MacArthur; Douglas MacArthur Biography; World War Two in the Pacific: Timeline of Event 1941-1945; LIFE With MacArthur: The Landing at Luzon, the Philippines, 1945: MacArthur Returns; Gen. Douglas MacArthur Returns to Leyte, Philippine Islands, 20 October 1944; Macarthur Returns To Philippines 1944; Today, May 6, 1942: Unconditional Surrender of All US Forces in Philippines