coinfodder's Blog

02 Sep 2020

V-75, VJ Day

Coins-United States | coinfodder

Hello Folks. And as you may know, today (September 2nd) is VJ Day. Japan, after the atom bomb fell, surrendered to the allied powers, led by the one and only Douglas MacArthur. Today, we will honor the five men who achieved the rank of 5-star general, and those men on coins.
Arnold. Bradley. Marshal. Eisenhower. MacArthur. These men were the only five men to receive the rank of five-star general, outranked by only John J. Pershing and George Washington at six-star. These men led America to victory in WW2, the deadliest conflict in human history. Over 85 million people perished during the Sino-Japanese war and WW2. We saw the worst in men, but we also saw the best in humanity. We saw empires collapse. New superpowers in the U.S.S.R and the United States. Great Britain would be wrecked from the war and would decline as a world superpower. Japan, on the other hand, was rebuilt from the ground up. These men bravely led the men of the "Greatest Generation."

Let us begin.

Henry "Hap" H. Arnold was a five-star general who is the only man to ever hold the rank of five-star rank in two branches of the US Military. Taking a interest in flying ever since since seeing the Wright Brothers, he became one of the first Army Air Corp pilots after overcoming a fear of heights during WWI. He oversaw the further development of the US Air Service. Because of his prominence in the US Army Air Corp, he rose to command the Air Corp prior to the beginning of WW2. He turned a hardscrabble, 100 plane, biplane air force into one of the biggest fighting air corps the world has every seen. During his tenure as commander of the Air Corp, he oversaw the development of the Intercontinental Bomber (B-29), the use of radar in the United States, and the jet fighter. After the war, he became the only 5-star general in the Air Force's history as he became the first head of the new Air Force. However, he would never wear this rank in active duty. He died in 1950.

Omar N. Bradley was a five star general, and the last man promoted to five star general. During WWI, Bradley guarded Copper Mines in Montana. His first command in WW2 was the transformation of the 82nd Infantry Division into America's first airborne division. He and his group were sent to North Africa to serve under General Patton during Operation Torch. After that, he commanded I Corp in the invasion of Sicily. During Normandy, he commanded the 1st Army at both Omaha and Utah beaches. After Normandy, Bradley commanded the 12th Army Group, the largest grouping of American Troops under one commander. After the war, Bradley became Chief of Staff of the US Army, and was promoted to 5-star general on September 22nd, 1950, right in time to be the senior officer in Korea. In 1951, he became one of the key factors in the firing of Douglas MacArthur. More on that later.

After Korea, Bradley retired from active duty, even though he "served" until his death in 1981. With his passing, the five-star rank was technically retired as a whole.

These two men are honored on the 2013 "Five Star Generals" Commemorative Coin, with a bust of each man on the front. On the back is the coat of arms of Fort Leavenworth's Command College, the college for many future generals.

George C. Marshall was a five star general and Army Chief of Staff during WW2. At the beginning of the war, Marshall was in the Philippines. Toward the end, however, he was sent to command a battalion during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the bloodiest offensive in American history. After the war, he became an aide-de-camp to John Pershing. By 1938, he was in the war department, and on September 1st, 1939 (the start of the war) Marshal became Chief-of-Staff of the Army, serving in the position during the entire war. Under his tenure, he greatly expanded the army into one of the finest fighting forces in the world, earning him the promotion to five-star in 1944, becoming the first man since Phillip Sheridan to receive the title of "General of the Army". After the war, he became Secretary of State under Truman, creating the now called Marshall Plan, which would ship millions to help rebuild the whole of Europe, which was devastated by war. As secretary of war during the Korean War, he helped to gear America for the conflict and the staring match with the Soviets we now know as the Cold War. He then retired, dying in 1959 at the age of 78.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower in 1890, but changed his name to Dwight at West Point. He denied a chance to command a unit in France during WWI, but however worked on training tank units before being shipped to France. After the war, Eisenhower worked with several generals, eventually rising to Brigadier General by 1941. He oversaw the invasion of Africa and Sicily, than was transferred to Normandy, were he won a bitter battle of Bernard Montgomery to become supreme commander of the AEF (Allied Expeditionary Force). Right before the Battle of the Bulge, Eisenhower was promoted to 5-star General. After the war, he became Chief of Staff, then retired from active duty. He then emerged from retirement to become the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. He died in 1969.

Both men are honored on the 2013 Silver Dollar. Both men are show in profile, superimposed over an American Flag. On the back is the Leavenworth Lamp, another symbol of the General's staff college. Eisenhower was also honored with the Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1978) and the Eisenhower 100th Birth Commemorative in 1990.

Douglas MacArthur was a 5-star general who was also field Marshall of the Philippine Army. Born in 1880 to a military family, he fought on the Western Front during WWI, being nominated for the Medal of Honor several times. He then left the United States for the Philippines. At the start of WWII, he found himself attacked on all sides by the Japanese. He then left, and was rewarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant defense of the Bataan Peninsula. During the war, he found himself running an island-hopping campaign in the Pacific, right up to Okinawa. After the surrender, he became the defacto emperor of Japan. However, Korea proved to be his downfall. After leading a big assault at Inchon, he managed to push the North Koreans all the way to the Chinese border, where he proceeded to taught Mao and his regime. They declared war and attacked, driving the UN forces 30 miles back into Korea. He was relieved soon after. He died, still a hero, in 1964.

He is honored of the 5-star Generals Gold Coin, having his own coin. On the coin is a bust taken from an image of him from the Philippines. On the back is the Leavenworth Lamp.

Thank you. Never Forget. See you later.



Level 5

Excellent blog, these men were men of their time. Without their leadership, WWII may have gone the other way,


Level 6

Nicely done.. The comments here are as good as the original blog. Thanks everyone.

It's Mokie

Level 6

I especially respect General MacArthur, his handling of the Japanese and their Emperor in the post-war years was the absolute probable cause of the economic miracle of modern Japan. A lesser man would have seen Japan descend into complete and utter chaos that would be unresolved to this day.


Level 5

The Soviets wanted their own (either Chuikov or Vasilevsky) in Japan, but MacArthur refused. Imagine what would of happened.


Level 5

Great Blog! As a Veteran, History Buff and a Collector you had me with the first paragraph. With the subject matter you could have written for days, nice concise blog, chock full of fun facts. Thanks!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Minor error about Marshall, while he served under Pershing, that was WW I and he was not commanding a battalion as a general. Likely he was a captain or a major at that time It's sad that George Patton wasn't included on a coin. He wasn't politically correct, but he was a hell of a general and we wouldn't have had the cold war and all of the problems with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower was ineffectual both as a general and a president with the Soviets Great article, thanks!!


Level 5

I don't live to far from where Eisenhower lived. Near Gettysburg. So many heroes out there like Mike said. Thanks for the history lesson.

They don't just give out a five-stars to anyone. Douglas Macarthur got a little trigger happy after World War Two though.


Level 7

Let's not forget all of the soldiers the privates. The cooks. Ship builders everyone. All who came home and those who didnt. When we entered the atomic age. The woman and children killed. The Vietnam war. We gave up to many of our children and friends. To me there the heroes. To many to count. I have there coins. Good blog. But you left a few out. Thanks for sharing.


Level 5

Never Forget the lesser people. These men were the backbone of the US Army. Here, we remember the brains who ended the war.

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