household name in the U.S., and stands near the top of the pantheon of legendary American military heroes.
However, what some don’t know is that his father, Arthur MacArthur, Jr. was himself a U.S. General and also won the Medal of Honor – the highest military decoration in the United States. Together, they are the only father-and-son duo in history to have both won Medals of Honor.
But to truly understand what makes the name Arthur MacArthur, Jr. so unusual, we have to go back a few generations beyond that, and learn a bit about Scottish naming conventions.
You see, the prefix “Mac” literally means “son of.” And since the suffix “Jr.” basically means “son of a guy* with the exact same name.” (Side Note: It’s a conundrum as to why nobody seems to know a female “Jr.” I’m sure one must exist somewhere)
So let’s break it down:
Arthur MacArthur, Jr. literally translates to “’Arthur, Son of Arthur’ son of ‘Arthur, Son of Arthur’”.
That’s enough to make a guy feel really young, but here’s the kicker: the only nickname he ever had during his 43-year military career was “The Boy Colonel.”
This leads us to three conclusions:
- General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. was so frustrated by everyone reminding him how young he was (or just utterly confused trying to figure out which Arthur was which at the family reunion) that he developed a rage so deep that it drove him to heroism through the Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, and Russo-Japanese war, and there was enough rage left over to pass on to a son (NOT named Arthur or Jr.) and last his son through WWI, WWII and the Korean War. Yes, the rage was so deep it led to 95 years of distinguished military service.
- If General Patton had known about Scottish naming conventions, his insults would have been far more creative. MacBitch sounds literary – Shakesperean even.
- If this blog stops being updated soon, it’s a cautionary tale to never describe the name of a MacArthur as “funny” ever again!