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From Mother's Pen: Letter #3


In the summer of 1924, things were not going well for Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur. On the morning of July 7, Philippine Scout troops under his command, angered by discrimination in pay and general treatment, staged a mutiny at Fort McKinley. MacArthur had actually been unhappy for some time, and had been trying to get out of the Philippines. In September 1923 he was turned down for the position of military attaché in London; later, he would be denied a similar post in Tokyo.

But in August of 1924, he was heartily recommended for promotion -- by his mother:
Confidential My dear General Pershing:

It was a real joy to see you on Saturday looking still so young and wonderfully handsome!

I think you will never grow old. I have felt particularly unhappy since I had my little heart-to-heart chat with you. It is just because I know You to be such a noble, broadminded and just man and friend that I am presuming on long and loyal friendship for you -- to open my heart in this appeal for my Boy -- and ask if you can't find it convenient to give him his promotion during Your regime as Chief of Staff?

He now stands number 7th on the list. He made good on the battlefields in France - And [sic] I have your fine letter to him written in France, telling him that you had recommended him to be a Major General. The mear [sic] fact that lie is younger in years than other deserving officers should not be sufficient reason for overslaughing him again-And of course you must know that every junior man the Department places above him,. becomes an actual punishment to him that will last for a life time. Men of great prominence, as well as men at large-have told me that the whole country would approve his promotion. You are so powerful in all Army mat ters , that you could give him his promotion by the stroke of your pen! You have never failed me yet -- and somehow 1 feel you will not in th I s request. Your own life is so full to overflowing with joys and happiness-and deserving success -that it may be hard for you to understand the heartaches and bitter disappointments in the lives of others. Won't you be real good and sweet -- The "Dear Old Jack" of long ago - and give me some assurance that you will give my Boy his well earned promotion before you leave the Army? I would rather have this promotion from your hands -- than from any other hands in the world. I pledge to keep absolutely to myself -- in strictest confidence -- any hope you may give me in this matter. If I had the power -- there is nothing on earth I would not do for you to prove my loyalty and admiration for you. God bless You - and crown your valuable life - by taking you to the White House.

Faithfully your friend

Mary P. MacArthur

On September 23, 1924 -- just ten days after Pershing stepped down as Chief of Staff -- Douglas MacArthur became the youngest Major General in the U.S. Army.


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