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When General Douglas MacArthur was in the Philippines in early 1945, he was planning for the expected invasion of Japan and he decided that he needed a special Army unit to protect him, his family and key aides. He sent a directive to all U.S. Army units in the South West Pacific Area looking for a specific number of men, at different stated ranks to be selected for an Honor Guard Company. The men had to be between 5'-10" and 6'-1" and have perfect service records.

When the war ended and General MacArthur moved to Tokyo, he took this unit with him. Rod Bechtel was in one of the first groups of about 45 non-combat vets to replace the original members in 1946. Half of the Honor Guard lived at the Finance Building and guarded the Dai Ichi Building where he had his office and the other half, the one Rod was in, lived at and guarded the American Embassy where the General, his family and several key aides lived.

At that time "Little Arthur", as the guards called the General's son, Arthur MacArthur, was about nine and rode his bike or walked in the long tree shaded driveway from the door of their home to a guard post at that entrance to the Embassy compound. He was quite pale, very shy but with a large vocabulary and would sometimes talk a bit with us on guard.

The General and Jean called his Honor Guard "their boys". The guards had the greatest respect for the General and really loved his wife who was good to them. Eric Parker's father was a member of the Honor Guard for General Douglas MaCarthur in Japan 1946-47 and is now living in MA.  Eric's father has been telling him stories about since Eric was a little child about his time as an Honor Guard for MacArthur especially stories about Arthur MacArthur and his mother Jean MacArthur.  Eric's father would take Arthur on a rowboat on the compound and Jean would bring hot chocolate to the soldiers on guard.

That Honor Guard unit was the smallest unit, only a company of 200 men or so, to ever have their own patch, an Honor Guard scroll. Of the 1,500 or so men who served in this unit from 1945 until the General was fired by Truman in 1951, less than 400 of them remained in 2007, all in their 70's plus. They were due to have their final reunion in October 2007 at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia.

Earlier in the war, the 813th Military Police Company and the 814th Military Police Company were responsible for providing security for General Douglas MacArthur while he was based in Melbourne and Brisbane.


Photo:- NAA Image no. : A11663, PA189

Military Policeman PFC John Link of the 813th MP Co carrying a Thompson
machine gun, Admiral ?, General Douglas MacArthur and John Curtin, Prime
Minister of Australia at Sydney Railway Station on 22 July 1942



I'd like to thank Rod Bechtel, Charles Knight and Eric Parker for their assistance with this web page.


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"Australia @ War" Research Products

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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 5 July 2007

This page last updated 06 September 2018