Born Jan. 26, 1880, into a military family, Douglas MacArthur graduated first in the 1903 class at West Point. He rose quickly through the ranks, serving as a brigadier general in the first World War, accepting an assignment as superintendent of West Point after the war.
He served in the Philippines between the World Wars and was named Army chief of staff in 1930. Following the creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, MacArthur returned to the islands to help them prepare for independence.
MacArthur was placed in command of the Southwest Pacific Theater in World War II, and he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his defense of the Philippines.
During the Korean War MacArthur commanded the United Nations forces until relieved of duty by President Harry Truman in 1951, but he received a hero's welcome upon his return to the United States.
MacArthur died April 5, 1964, and was honored on a 6¢ stamp (Scott 1424) in 1971.