Where is Arthur Macarthur?
I recently spent a morning in the museum tomb of Douglas Macarthur in Norfolk Virginia in hopes of learning more about this enigma, a monumental monument to a man with an ego that was unmatched in the 20th century.
In previous posts I have noted that Macarthur was a scoundrel, awarding himself medals that he clearly did not deserve (including the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross), but I was amazed at his memorial in Norfolk.
The memorial is befitting a king, surprising since he was not nearly as successful as many of his contemporaries (Patton, Marshall, Eisenhower).
Stolen Valor - Underserved medals of Duuglas MacArthur
In one of the most appalling event of WWII, FDR awarded “Dugout Doug” the medal of honor for his dismal surrender at Bataan, a disaster for his personal incompetance directly caused thousands of men to perish at the hands of the Imperial Japanese army. What a disgrace.
It's no wonder that his son, Arthur Macarthur, changed his name and went into hiding, probably from shame if being the son of "Dugout Doug"
Of course, the museum fails to feature the fact that he was drummed out of the Army by Harry Truman for disobeying a direct order, but it was fascinating to note that MacArthur, Whinston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were all cousins, all descended from a Belcher:
Sara Belcher – Common ancestor of FDR, Winston Churchill and Doug Macarthur
It was cool to see his famous corncob pipe and his golden hat, a megalomaniacal crown of gold leaf, befitting someone of his titanic ego:
Where is Arthur Macarthur today?
But the most amazing part of the museum has Douglas Macarthur’s son, Arthur Macarthur IV, born in 1938 when Douglas as 58 years old! (Douglas was also a late child, his Dad being 35 when he was born.)
I was also a late child of a late child (my Grandpa, James Vespasian Burleson, was born in 1870), but Arthur Macarthur has me beat by a mile.
Imagine having a grandpa who was born in 1845 and fought in the Civil War!
Young Arthur was a media favorite, the heir to the family dynasty and he appeared in magazine and trade periodicals like a celebrity:
But something important happened in the late 1950’s. By law, Arthur was guaranteed admission to West Point (as the son of a Medal of Honor winner), but instead he chose a very different path, favoring Columbia University and an interest in “non macho” subjects like music and art.
In 1959, Ole Douglas was 79 year old, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he learned that young Arthur had a bad case of the fagnasties! I’ll bet the old prick really blew a gasket!
Arthur Macarthur IV with his elderly Dad
The trail stops there, and for reasons which are never officially explained (although we can all guess!), Arthur changed his name. Today, many folks speculate about Arthurs whereabouts, and whether he survived the AIDS epidemic.
Today (in 2008), Arthur is 70 years old, a senior citizen allegedly living in Greenwich Village under an assumed name, doing art and music.