Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur, Military Adviser to the Philippine Commonwealth, had just taken a demotion in rank. As he stood at a window in his penthouse apartment atop the swank Manila Hotel, looking out on the bay, on the brooding fortress of Corregidor, he was (for practical purposes) no longer a field marshal or the four-starred general he had been when he retired three and a half years ago from the U.S. Army. His Commander in Chief had just called him back to that Army in reduced but impressive rank.
General MacArthur was not downcast at this technical demotion, and he had no reason to be. For he had also been made commander of The U.S. Army Forces in the Far East.
From Hyde Park, N.Y., Franklin Roosevelt issued an order that threw Douglas MacArthur's new-trained and untried Philippine Army, reputedly of 150,000 officers and men, into the U.S. Army. A supplemental order also put Douglas MacArthur, once the youngest (50) Chief of Staff the U.S. Army ever had, in command of the whole worksPhilippine Army, U.S. regulars and Philippine Scouts, the Army's Philippine Air Force.
Back in U.S. Army khaki, with bank after bank of bright ribbons on his chest, Field Marshal MacArthur will wear the three stars of a lieutenant general. But as military top dog in the Philippines, he will carry a lot of weight in Far East conferences, in which he has long sat with such key figures as Admiral Thomas Hart, Commander of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, Commander in Chief of the British Forces in East Asia.
Until recently the defenses of the Philippines have been split under several commands. Keystone of Philippine defense are the U.S. regulars and the Philippine Scouts. Few months ago these pros totaled some 10,000. But this year, while the Navy has built up its Asiatic Fleet with patrol bombers, submarines, surface craft, the Army has not been idle. Army strength in the Philippines today is a military secret.
There have been especially heavy increases in air power, under the command of cyclonic Brigadier General Henry Black Clagett, who entered West Point (1902), when Douglas MacArthur was a first classman and who, like MacArthur, is impatient of sloppy soldiering, a stern disciplinarian. Henry Clagett's immediate superior and MacArthur's No. 1 man is leather-dimpled Major General George Grunert, in command of the Philippine regulars for the past year.
When Douglas MacArthur became Philippine military adviser in 1935, the plan was to train 40,000 Filipinos a year until the Commonwealth Army reached a total of 400,000 active and reserve. Today, after a series of cuts in appropriations, the Philippine Army is 75,000Moros, Tagalogs and Igorotsa cross section of the Islands' population. Its reserve totals 50-75,000 more, all with five and a half months of MacArthur training. Its officers are young, for the Army was started with no backlog from an officer class. Most of them are trained in the Philippine Military Academy at Baguio, fathered by MacArthur on the pattern of West Point. Many a U.S. regular is doubtful of the Philippine Army's youngsters. Few armies in modern times have been developed so rapidly, with such an accent on youth. But Lieut. General Douglas MacArthur, U.S.A., thinks his boys are good.