Friday, July 17, 2009

MacArthur and Marshall - Career Paths

George Marshall and Douglas MacArthur were both famous Generals in WW II and were both born in 1880. Given the small size of the US Army before WW II you'd think these 2 men would have been friends or rivals in the 38 years from MacArthur's graduation from West Point in 1903 to Pearl Harbor December 1941. Yet, the 2 men rarely served together and had little personal contact for the following reasons:

1) Marshall went to VMI, MacArthur to West Point.
2) Marshall was an infantry officer, MacArthur an Engineer.
3) In France During WW I, Marshall was a staff officer, MacArthur a combat officer.
4) Both men served overseas but almost never at the time. When Marshall was stateside, Mac was in the Philippines, and vice-versa.
5) MacArthur became a general in 1920, Marshall languished as Captain/Major until 1927 and only became a General in 1936.

As far as I can tell the 2 men were only in the same general area twice. In 1908-1910 both men were stationed in Ft. Leavenworth Kansas and in 1917-1919 both were in France during WWI. The two men' s service record looks like this:


  • June 1903 - Graduates West Point.
  • Oct 1903- June 1905 Philippines and California
  • June 1905-June 1907 Aid to his father (General Arthur MacArthur) and President
  • June 1907-June 1908 - Various posts in USA as Engineer
  • 1908-1912 Engineer Ft Leavenworth and Ft Riley Kansas
  • 1913-1917 Engineer attached to the General Staff - Washington DC
  • 1917-1919 - France with 42nd Rainbow Division - Promoted Brigadier General
  • 1919-1922 - Commandant West Point
  • 1992-1925 Philippines
  • 1925-1928 Corps Commander - Baltimore MD - Promoted Major General
  • 1928-1930 Philippines
  • 1930 1935 Army Chief of Staff - Washington DC
  • 1935 - 1938 Commander US Army Philippines
  • 1938 - 1941 Retired from US Army. Head of Filipino Army
  • July 1941 - Recalled to active duty.

George Marshall

  • Feb 1902-Oct 1903 Philippines
  • 1903-1906 - Infantry Officer - Oklahoma
  • 1906-1908 - Student at Ft Leavenworth Staff College - Kansas
  • 1909-1910 - Instructor Ft Leavenworth Staff College - Kansas
  • 1910-1913 - Company Commander and Instructor various posts in USA
  • 1913-1916 Philippines
  • 1916-1917 - Aid to General Bell - California
  • 1917-1918 - Staff Officer - 1st Division - France
  • 1918-1919 - Staff Officer - 1st Army - France - Promoted to Colonel (Temporary)
  • 1919-1924 - Aid to General Pershing (Reverts back to Regular Army Captain in 1920)
  • 1924- 1927 - China (Promoted to Lt Col)
  • 1927-1932 - Head Ft Benning Infantry School
  • 1933 - Service with Illinois National Guard - Promoted to Colonel
  • 1934-1938 - Service with CCC - (Promoted to Brigadier General - March 1936)
  • Oct 1938 -Sept 1939 - Deputy Chief of Staff - DC
  • Sept 1939- Nov 1945 - Army Chief of Staff


Trooper York said...

What you don't mention is that both men hated each other. To MacArthur who had been Chief of Staff and Generalissimo of the Philipenses, Marshal was a pissant little clerk just as Esienhower was just one of his staff. Beneath his notice. Luckily Marshal was not so petty although he did have the view of MacArthur of most of the "Old Army". That he was blowhard and an egoist of the first water who got a lot of his position due to his father Arhtur MacArthur who was a distinguished officer in his own right. Dugout Doug was a figure of fun in the old army ever since his mother went with him to West Point to watch over her baby.

rcocean said...

Trooper, you're pushing my buttons.

Dugout Doug?! MacArthur - despite the nickname - often established his HQ near the front (see Leyte and Luzon), he made constant visits to the front, over saw landings from ship, and boarded C-47 airplanes to watch the paratroopers jump to the Drop zone.

MacArthur used to leave the safety of command post on Corregidor and go out DURING air-raids to "improve the morale" of the AAA gunners.

What about "Dug Out Ike"? The man never got within 10 miles of a German.

rcocean said...

And thanks for posting.

Trooper York said...

Hey my old next store neighbor served under MacArthur and that was his name for him. He died about ten years ago but he told lots of stories about those days. He was an MP and had a lot of interesting things to say. Who knows if it was true, but I guess that's where I got my opinion from.

rcocean said...

Maybe you know more than I do. I've never talked to a WWII Vet that served with MacArthur. All I know is that every biographer/author I've read or seen mentions his personal courage.

I think MacArthur's aristocratic bearing (and general aloofness) rubbed many GI's the wrong way. They liked Ike's common man pose a lot more.