FROM PRIVATE TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
LIEUTENANT CASPAR WILLARD WEINBERGER
SERVED IN THE AMP BUILDING
IN BRISBANE DURING WW2

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Caspar Weinberger enlisted in the US Army in 1941 as a private and initially served in the 41st Infantry Division in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Caspar Weinberger was transferred to the Combined Operation Intelligence Centre Brisbane (COIC Brisbane) in General Douglas MacArthur's GHQ SWPA in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He was not happy with this move as he wanted to stay with his platoon and company and help win the war. His transfer was based on the need for someone with legal and newspaper experience. When he arrived in Brisbane he requested an interview with General Chamberlin to request that he be transferred back to the 41st Infantry Division.

Lt. C.W. Weinberger was shown as the Duty Officer Air in the Combined Operation Intelligence Centre Brisbane (COIC Brisbane) in the 1944 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane. He was located in Room 812 on the 8th Floor of the AMP building which was used by General Douglas MacArthur as his General Headquarters, South West Pacific Area (GHQ, SWPA). General MacArthur had his office in Room 806 on the same floor. Weinberger could always tell when General MacArthur was in his office as he would place his hat on top of a filing cabinet that he could see across the courtyard from his desk.

Weinberger soon realised that he liked his new role, which involved analysing intelligence reports and turning them into situation reports for General MacArthur. He also produced draft communiqués for MacArthur to send to the other Theater commanders. He was promoted to the rank of Captain by late 1943.

In his book "In the Arena: A Memoir of the 20th Century", Weinberger recollects riding down in the lift one evening with General MacArthur and his entourage. Caspar stood at rigid attention for the whole of the 8 floors down in the lift. On another occasion Caspar Weinberger was working back late (around midnight) in the AMP building when an intelligence signal came in advising of the sighting of Japanese Naval units in the vicinity of a small amphibious US invasion force.

Weinberger ran the 4 city blocks from the AMP building to Lennons Hotel where General Douglas MacArthur lived. After being cleared through the security at Lennons Hotel, he was escorted to MacArthur's unit where he met the General who was dressed in his bathrobe. MacArthur read the Intelligence Report and asked Weinberger "Well, what do you think, Captain? What would you do?".

Weinberger told MacArthur that he thought the Japanese were in the area by chance and that the invasion should still proceed. MacArthur agreed and Weinberger raced back to his desk in the AMP building. The invasion went ahead and was a success, much to Weinberger's relief.

Caspar Weinberger went on to become the 15th Secretary of Defense under US President Ronald Reagan, who himself also served in the military during WWII. Weinberger served as Secretary of Defense from 21 January 1981 until 23 November 1987. He was awarded a Bronze Star during WWII. Caspar W. Weinberger died from Pneumonia on 28 March 2006.

The 8th floor of the former AMP building is now occupied by the MacArthur Museum Brisbane. The rest of the building, now known as MacArthur Chambers, has been turned into luxurious apartments. Stage 2 of MacArthur Museum Brisbane was opened in late 2006 with the official opening held in March 2007.

 

REFERENCES

"In the Arena: A Memoir of the 20th Century"
by Caspar Weinberger and Gretchen Roberts
Pages 73 - 74

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bob Mackintosh for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on
Caspar Weinberger's time in Brisbane during WW2?

 

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This page first produced 19 January 2007

This page last updated 03 February 2017