General MacArthur Begs God’s Mercy

October 22, 2015

General Marshall with General Douglas MacArthur

General Marshall with General Douglas MacArthur

Hardly had MacArthur landed at an airstrip fifty miles from Darwin, in northern Australia, than he was jolted by the most shocking news of his military career: the “army” that he was to lead in a swift return to the Philippines to rescue [his men in] Bataan did not exist. Counting Australians, there were only 32,000 Allied troops in the entire land, and nearly all of them were noncombat types. There were less than a hundred serviceable airplanes, most of them obsolete and timeworn, and not a single tank existed in all of Australia.

For one of the few times in his life, Douglas MacArthur was plunged into despair. When given this scandalous news by Brig. Gen. Richard J. Marshall, his deputy chief of staff, MacArthur’s jaw clenched and he whispered hoarsely: “God have mercy on us!”


William B. Breuer, Sea Wolf: The Daring Exploits of Navy Legend John D. Bulkeley (Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1989), 73-74.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 497


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