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In a career that spanned four wars and five decades, General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) established himself as an important, if controversial, figure in American history. MacArthur was born on January 26, 1880, in Little Rock Barracks, Arkansas, to General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. (1845-1912), a Civil War hero, and Mary Hardy MacArthur (1852-1935). In 1903, MacArthur graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
His first tour of duty as a Second Lieutenant was in the Philippine Islands. After serving in Mexico in 1916-1917, and in France during the World War I (1914-1918), MacArthur returned to the Philippines twice in the 1920s. In 1930, President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) appointed MacArthur Chief of Staff of the Army. Following his retirement in 1935, MacArthur became a field marshal in the Philippine Army, serving until 1941.