Historian and SaddleBrooke resident Paul Belanger has studied General Douglas MacArthur and wrote his master’s thesis on this very complex man. Here is Paul’s summary of his upcoming talk on Wednesday, April 19, at 2 p.m. in the DesertView Theater:
“Douglas MacArthur was an American general who commanded the Southwest Pacific Theatre of War in World War II. He oversaw the successful Allied occupation of postwar Japan and led United Nations forces in the Korean War. A larger-than-life controversial figure, MacArthur was talented, outspoken, and, in the eyes of many, egotistical. He helped lead the 42nd Division in France during World War I, then served as superintendent of West Point, chief of staff of the Army, and field marshal of the Philippines where he helped organize a national military force. During World War II, he returned to liberate the Philippines in 1944 after it had fallen to the Japanese. MacArthur led United Nations forces during the start of the Korean War, but later clashed with President Harry Truman over war policy and was removed from command. Some scholars have tended to overlook or minimize MacArthur’s long catalogue of dangerous missteps and bad decisions, elevating him to “American Caesar,” while others have referred to him as ‘the most dangerous man in America.’ Historians find him fascinating, and why wouldn’t they? Practically everything he said was quotable, and practically everything he did, on the surface at least, seemed dashing and bold. He was a master of military theater, with a gift for putting himself at the photogenic nexus between the martial and the political. His fabulous career cut a wide path through much of American history. In narrative terms, he was a gift that keeps on giving.”
Paul is from Arizona, having graduated from San Manuel High School where he met his bride (Roxanne) of 50 years, also from Arizona. After a stint in the Marines as both an aviator and infantry officer, he returned to San Manuel where he worked on both the surface and underground of the Magma Copper Mine as a supervisor. He joined the federal government in 1978, becoming a mine inspector and special investigator in a number of locations throughout the United States while remaining in the Army Reserves. In 2003 his unit was called to active duty for service in Iraq where he served as the Battalion Command Sergeant Major. He remained on active duty until his retirement in 2011, serving as a Brigade and Division Command Sergeant Major, making multiple overseas trips to both Iraq and Afghanistan. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, as well as two Bronze Stars and numerous other awards. After his retirement from the Army, he lived again in California where he returned to federal service, finally retiring in 2017. In 2018 Paul and Roxanne decided to come back to the area they always called “home,” moving to SaddleBrooke. Paul is a graduate of Marshall University and holds a master’s degree in military history from American Public University where he specialized in World War II.
Please note: We will be meeting in the DesertView Theater on Clubhouse Drive on Wednesday, April 19, at 2 p.m. This presentation concludes our 2022–23 season. If you have been receiving our email reminders, you need do nothing. If you would like to be added to our database or are not sure, contact Steve Reggentin at [email protected].