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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
MacArthur Close‑Up
by
William Addleman Ganoe

published by
Vantage Press
New York, 1962

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

[p9] Why I Wrote This

"You ought to write that down, Bill."

"You're the only one who has firsthand knowledge."

"Most of the people of the United States haven't the vaguest idea about his true personality."

"There's so much contradictory gossip about him, people don't know what to believe."

For thirty-eight years I've been peppered like that after relating one of the unique happenings I've here at last set down. Although the main time covered is only two years, it involved the most tragic blows ever struck at West Point and aggressive foes from within and without who strove to block MacArthur's reconstruction. There were as much tragedy and comedy compressed into those twenty-four months as in all the years at the Academy afterward.

I have waited till this late date for two reasons. I did not want to bring into disrepute obstructionists, who at an earlier time might have been labeled, and I was hesitant about appearing to be rushing into print by hanging onto coat tails. Now that time has cut these reasons to a minimum, I have felt it a duty to make this contribution to history and biography, because Fate gave me more continual contact with MacArthur than it has given possibly anyone since. There was no plethora of G's and dozens of heads of this and that bursting in and out with disconcerting clamor. The business then ran straight, short, simple. There were just six of us on his administrative staff — his Aide, the Quartermaster, Treasurer, Surgeon, Chaplain and myself as Adjutant. Obviously, because of my office, through which everything was funneled, I came in for most of the Superintendent's official time. Altogether MacArthur and his staff were a cozy little family, with the doors open. There were no crowdings or commotions. He would call to me informally or come out and sit on the edge of my desk.

As these callings, sittings and talkings went on, I became [p10]increasingly aware of a presence so different from any other that it defied comparison. Each hour brought surprises and excitement, which eclipsed the routine, until work became a sort of game and entertainment. As time went on, I was convinced he was destined to be among the great. And now that he is, duty prods me harder to make my picture faithful and explicit, to let you see him as I saw him in his blossoming period.

Yet, as I reread the happenings here recorded, I say to myself: "Who will believe this?" I surely wouldn't, had I not seen and heard with my own eyes and ears.

After I had revised and revised again for accuracy, I sent the story to Major General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Robert M. Danford, who had been Commandant of Cadets while these occurrences took place, and whom I had not seen since we parted at the Academy in 1921. Imagine my astonishment and thrill when he replied with full concurrence and the greatest enthusiasm I've had from any critic. His suggested changes were to provide for additions rather than to indicate differences. His reaction not only proved I had not lost my faithfulness but, after all these years, that I had the finest corroboration.

Some will say, how could you remember after so long? The answer: I took notes, memorized many of his words and started repeating his acts and sayings after being relieved. Many of his statements were so startling and original, they just naturally stuck. For MacArthur is not just the most unbelievable character. He is indelible.

W. A. G.


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Page updated: 22 Jun 16