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Stolen Valor within the military

Society tips by Donald K.. Burleson

April 2010

Also see my notes on Stolen Valor Arrests.

In December 2006 Congress just passed the Stolen Valor Act, an enhancement of Federal law making it a felony to wear medals that you have not earned. This great site exposes and shames fake heroes and it is great that these scumbags can now be sent to prison.

But what about people who got medals they did not deserve?

As a case in point, consider Gen Douglas MacArthur. Big Mac always wanted to get the Medal of Honor as a teenager just like his father did in the Civil War (when MOH winners were far more common than in the 20th century), but it’s tough to get your hands dirty in combat when you are a four-star desk jockey. Could there be another way, if you happen to be a 5-star general?

The Father-and-son Medal of Honor Winners

Douglas’ Dad, Arthur Macarthur was a brave teenaged officer in the Civil War, back when the U.S.A gave out the “medal of Honor” like candy. Arthur got his MOH at age 18, and was a Lt. Col by 19 years old.

Doug wanted a Medal of Honor, just like his Daddy

Young Douglas MacArthur was born in 1880 when Arthur was 35 years-old and the lad idolized his Dad, but he was troubled that after the Army tightened the criteria for the Medal of Honor that he had a snowballs chance of hell of getting the medal as a teenager, like Daddy.

During WWI, MacArthur was a real-deal hero, fearlessly charging into the fray and receiving two Distinguished Service Crosses, seven Silver Stars, a Distinguished Service Medal, and two Purple Hearts.

You don’t win seven silver stars without having huge nads.  Even Audie Murphy (the most decorated U.S. soldier in history) only got the Silver Star twice.

Is General MacArthur is guilty of stolen valor?

Granted, MacArthur was very brave in combat, but you have to question medals that are outside of his area (flying a desk). 

I firmly believe that the stolen Valor Act should also include general officers who give each other medals without justification.

There are two types of stolen valor, that outside the military and officers within the military who award themselves medals that they have not earned.  This is the ultimate betrayal of trust, none more than "Dugout Doug" MacArthur, a scumbag of epic proportions who gave away medals like party favors:
  •  For his acts cowardice in The Philippines (abandoning his men to the Bataan Death March) Douglas got himself awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • He accepted a Distinguished Flying Cross, without even participating in an areal mission.
  •  He handed out Silver Star medals like party favors, and once gave Lyndon Johnson a bogus silver star for flying on a single mission.  The mission failed to reach the target, and no other member of the flight crew was decorated.

This 1951 TIME magazine article notes that Gen. MacArthur could not have possibly met the requirements of aerial combat to earn his DFC.

True, the DFC medal is in his record, but it is fairly well documented that it was not "extraordinary", by any definition:

"And Stratemeyer awarded MacArthur the Distinguished Flying Cross ("for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight"), on the ground that MacArthur's flying visits to Korea were made "under conditions presenting the threat of hostile air interception."

And this, well, it speaks volumes about Mac Arthur’s character:

“When MacArthur finally landed, he passed out Silver Stars to three Marine officers—and two South Korean naval officers who happened to be passing by.”

I personally find this an affront to all servicemen who earned "real" medals for valor and extraordinary achievement in combat. I was 8 years-old when Macarthur died, and since I’d never heard of him, my Dad treated me to the shameful account of this medal-chasing prick and the horrors of the men he abandoned in the Philippines. I was told that Mac was arrogant to a fault, believed that he was invincible, and was indeed cool under fire, but only because he was nutty.

Cowardice presented as Heroism?

It’s just sickening that MacArthur’s act of cowardice (leaving his men behind to face the Bataan Death March) was warped into an act so courageous as to warrant the Congressional Medal of Honor. In fairness, Mac wanted to stay but was ordered to abandon his men, but still, how does abandonment translate into gallantry? Here is the Congressional Medal of Honor citation for this jackass who left hundreds of men to be captured by the Japanese invaders:

“Citation: For conspicuous leadership in preparing the Philippine Islands to resist conquest, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against invading Japanese forces, and for the heroic conduct of defensive and offensive operations on the Bataan Peninsula. He mobilized, trained, and led an army which has received world acclaim for its gallant defense against a tremendous superiority of enemy forces in men and arms. His utter disregard of personal danger under heavy fire and aerial bombardment, his calm judgment in each crisis, inspired his troops, galvanized the spirit of resistance of the Filipino people, and confirmed the faith of the American people in their Armed Forces.”

I wonder if it might be appropriate to posthumously prosecute Douglas MacArthur under the Stolen Valor Act?

MacArthur steals the Distinguished Flying Cross

I always wondered how “Dugout Doug” MacArthur got his paws on a Distinguished Flying Cross, and I finally found out how this medal-grabbing coward got his DFC.

You have to be a monumental jerk to have your only son change his name (Arthur MacArthur IV and hide in Greenwich Village under an assumed name.

Willy the Whip

Whenever a general has a nickname, it’s usually a bad sign, and Major General William Tunner was no exception.  A butt-kiss of the first order, Wee Willy Tunner started a mutual admiration society with Dugout Doug MacArthur, lavishing medals on each other like two star-crossed lovers.  This from the book “Anything, Anywhere, Anytime:  Combat Cargo of the Korean War” by William Leary.
On page 9 we see who an old man 5-star Army general got the Distinguished Flying Cross as a party favor from one of his underlings, with quote is dripping with sarcasm:  

“MacArthur modestly took credit for what he considered a brilliant tactical maneuver that would complete the destruction of the North Korean Army.  To MacArthur’s surprise and pleasure, Stratemeyer presented him (General Douglas MacArthur) with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his “outstanding heroism and extraordinary achievement” while participating in aerial flights to Korea.  MacArthur, in turn, awarded Tunner the Distinguished Service Cross.”




Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

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