Posted by: SJS | March 29, 2011

MacArthur aboard

Among the larger-than-life military figures to emerge during World War II, few equalled the status of General Douglas MacArthur.  By his very presence, he inspired resolute determination and a fighting spirit that was uncompromising.  MacArthur understood that the essence of leadership went far beyond brilliant strategy and superb tactics.  Through bold gestures and carefully staged events he conveyed a sense of confidence that was unmistakable.

In fulfilling his promise to return to the Philippines after the Allies had been driven out early in the war, MacArthur was transported by various PT boats.  It had been a PT boat early in the war that prevented MacArthur’s capture by the Japanese.   The general never forgot the pivotal role played by the PT boats from those earliest days of the war.

MacArthur on PT 373

MacArthur on PT 373 March 2, 1945

This photo shows General MacArthur on the deck of PT 373 (far right) on the way to the island of Corregidor.   As reported in the book,  At Close Quarters:  PT Boats in the United States Navy by Captain Robert J. Bulkley, Jr., Corregidor was taken after a ferocious 12-day battle.  MacArthur, who had left “The Rock” in PT 41 on March 11, 1942, returned to it in PT 373 on March 2, 1945.  

This photo of  MacArthur’s ride on PT 373 was sent to me by Joe Pastorino of Ron 27 who served on PT 373.  He identified the 373 Skipper at the time as Stillman Taylor (standing far left) and three of MacArthur’s staff officers:  General Sunderland, General Kruger, and Vice Admiral Barley.  Joe currently lives in Florida and I am deeply grateful to him for sending me a copy of this remarkable moment in PT history.    

Most of the enlisted men on PT 373 were at their stations on March 2, 1945 ensuring that everything went smoothly as the distinguished general made his return to Corregidor (“The Rock”).  Was Red Stahley working the radio that day?  Yet another mystery I am endeavoring to solve.

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Responses

  1. Steve –

    This is an outstanding photograph. I can not imagine what was going through the minds of the crew with General MacArthur on board. We don’t often get the chance in life to be in the company of someone of that stature.

    Dudley

  2. Dudley,

    I agree. It must have been awe-inspiring for those sailors to know that they were transporting such a famous leader during those crucial days. Even the way MacArthur sits conveys authority and gravitas.

    Thanks for your comments; they’re much appreciated.

    Steve

  3. Steve, do you know the alternate PT Boat number that was to transport Gen. MacArthur in case PT 373 could not do it?

  4. Hi Steve, I was wondering if you knew the alternate PT Boat number that was to transport Gen. MacArthur in case PT 373 could not do it?

    • Darren,

      Sorry for the long delay in responding. I don’t know the alternate PT boat number for transport if the 373 could not do it. My guess is that it would have been the other PT that made that first foray into Manilla bay in February of 1945, but I’m not sure which boat that was; MacArthur wanted to honor that expedition as part of his return trip to the region.

      Steve


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