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    Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

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Douglas MacArthur: Battle of Inchon

Posted by Orrin Woodward on November 28, 2012

In my continuing study of great men and women in history, I would like to share one of my favorite stories about the life of General Douglas MacArthur. His leadership exemplifies the type of courageous leadership we desire to build within the LIFE Business. With leaders like Chris Brady, Tim Marks, and Claude Hamilton, I am confident we are on our way. I hope you enjoy the article and keep growing personally and professionally to fulfill the purpose God created you for.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

General Douglas MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur was one of the greatest generals in American history. His bravery, boldness, and strategies won many battles for America. Interestingly, one of his most most daring battle strategies was one of his last. Pretty impressive when one considers he served in the military for over 40 years. The events leading up to MacArthur’s moment was North Korea’s invasion of South Korea in the summer of 1950. United Nation (UN) forces pushed back and pinned down in the tiny southeast corner of the Korean peninsula, called the Pusan Perimeter. With little room to maneuver or conduct offensive operations, men were being slaughtered on both sides with no breakout in sight. General MacArthur’s plan, an amphibious landing at Inchon, was not only was genius in its conception, but courageous to the point of foolishness in execution. Indeed, rarely does God create, in a person, a stronger mixture of brains and bravery than Douglas MacArthur.

Why did the proposed amphibious landing at Inchon border on madness? For many different reasons, namely, every significant factor the navy researches before amphibious operations pointed against the proposed landing at Inchon. From a narrow approach channel, strong currents, massive fluctuation in tides, city landing with sea walls instead of beaches, and an easily mined bay, these concerns made even the most courageous cower in fear. In fact, one of the gunnery officers said afterward, “We drew up a list of every natural and geographic handicap – and Inchon had them all!” The communications officer concurred, remarking, “Make up a list of amphibious ‘don’ts’ and you have an exact description of the Inchon operation.” MacArthur, undaunted, ignored such criticisms, noting the Japanese had performed amphibious landings at Inchon back in 1904. Naval officers were at a loss as to how to explain to MacArthur that, in 1904, ships had a significantly shallower draft than in 1950.

When the Joint Chiefs were informed of MacArthur’s planned invasion point, they were not amused, quickly sending several members to MacArthur’s to temper his “rashness.”  I will quote William Manchester’s masterful description of the scene from his classic book American Caesar:

Lesser naval officers took the floor to point out that the General’s objective violated all seven criteria set forth in the USF-6, their amphibious bible. CINFE’s officers (MacArthur’s men) were glum and silent. Finally, after nine critics had completed an eighty-minute presentation, MacArthur rose. Afterward he wrote: “I waited a moment or so to collect my thoughts. I could feel the tension rising in the room. Almond shifted uneasily in his chair. If ever a silence was pregnant, this one was. I could almost hear my father’s voice telling me as he had so many years before, ‘Doug, councils of war breed timidity and defeatism.’”

Of the thirty-minute performance which followed, Doyle said, “Of MacArthur had gone on the stage, you never would have heard of John Barrymore.” The General began by telling them that “the very arguments you have made as to the impracticalities involved” confirmed his faith in the plan, “for the enemy commander will reason that no one would be so brash as to make such an attempt.” Surprise, he said, “is the most vital element for success in war.” Suddenly, he was reminding them of a lesson they had all learned in grammar school: “the Marquis de Montcalm believed in 1759 that it was impossible for an armed force to scale the precipitous river banks south of the then walled city of Quebec, and therefore concentrated his formidable defenses along the more vulnerable banks north of the city. But General James Wolfe and a small force did indeed come up the St. Lawrence River and scale those heights. On the Plains of Abraham, Wolfe won a stunning victory that was made possible almost entirely by surprise. Thus he captured Quebec and, in effect, ended the French and Indian War. Like Montcalm, the North Koreans would regard an Inchon landing as impossible. Like Wolfe, I could take them by surprise.

MacArthur was scintillating, converting nine skeptics into new believers through his belief and oratory powers. At one point, MacArthur pointed to an Inchon Map on the wall and said he would take full responsibility for failure and would withdraw the forces immediately if necessary. The men objected, saying it wouldn’t be necessary because they would get the job done. Minutes before, these same men were hesitant and fearful, now under the leadership spell of MacArthur, they believed they could pull of a miracle. Intuitively understanding when to finish, MacArthur closed, whispering, “I can almost hear the ticking of the second hand of destiny. We must act now or we will die. . . Inchon will succeed. And it will save 100,000 lives.” Over a minute of dead-silence followed before Sherman, one of the Joint Chiefs sent to dissuade MacArthur, answered, “Thank you. A great voice in a great cause.” Inchon was now moving forward and South Korea’s future hung in the balance.

As MacArthur predicted, the Inchon landing, on September 15, 1950, caught the North Korean’s completely by surprise. In the subsequent battle for the city, 566 men were killed and 2,713 wounded on the UN side. In contrast, the North Korean’s lost over 35,000 men killed or captured. Advancing inland, the UN forces captured Seoul on September 25, breaking the North Korean’s stranglehold. Thanks to the courageous landing at Inchon, the 8th army broke out from the Pusan Perimeter, sending the North Korean’s into a hasty retreat out of South Korean land. In fact, MacArthur men crushed the North Korean army, forcing China to enter the fray to save North Korea from extinction. Despite great risk to his reputation, his men, and his country, MacArthur’s bold plan had, not only saved South Korea from annihilation, but reversed the fortunes of the entire war.

Few men in history, especially this late in a great career, have displayed courageous leadership any better. General Douglas MacArthur was a man who followed his convictions, despite potential downside risk. He believed right makes might, not might makes right. Because of his leadership and strategy, South Korea is free today. Does leadership matter? Just ask the hundreds of thousands of men who are alive today because of MacArthur’s leadership. In today’s society, we need thousands more men and women who will lead like MacArthur. His example inspires each of us to step out of our comfort zones and lead. The ability is undoubtedly already inside of us, the question is: will we bring it out?

42 Responses to “Douglas MacArthur: Battle of Inchon”

  1. Matt Mielke said

    Wow! What an honor and privilege to be involved with a group of men and women the likes of MacArthur. Skin of a rhino, hearts of a child, minds of a scholar and wills like steel. Tick tock goes the clock as we run toward our destiny – 1 million!

  2. Elaine Mallios said

    Fantastic and inspiring. Great teaching Orrin. Thanks.

  3. PappaBiggs said

    Great article

  4. Love to read your blog on the History you study! Amazing! So glad god put you on your path I or would still be wandering in the desert!!! Take care and God Bless Orrin!

  5. TJ said

    Orrin this was great and perfect timing… I love the pause MacAthur had after hearing all the reasons why not, his own filter of “councils of war breed timidity and defeatism.’” Is refreshing to see. To have recorded history be so grand yet it first started in the battle of the mind of MacAthur is so great. Even though he knew he was right, after hearing all his own say its not reasonable MacAthur had to bring himself back to why he knew it was just the plan that would work. Then he put his name on the line and made a decision and it ended up stiffing those same men. This is awesome!!!! Thanks again for all you have done Orrin and the decisions that you have made along the way to bring LIFE to the masses… Surprise to the world we have arrived to make a difference!!!

  6. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Orrin, thank you for sharing yet another historical example of great leadership! And more importantly for BEING such an EXAMPLE!!

    “While some people are busy giving reasons for why something can’t be done, others are busy doing it.”

    On to one million people!

  7. Michael Hartmann said

    “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.” – Winston Churchill

    MacArthur disciplined himself to be a student of history, and it his historical knowledge that steeled his internal courage. Citing both Marquis de Montcalm’s 1759 invasion of Quebec & the Japanese amphibious landings at Inchon back in 1904, MacArthur built his modern case successfully based on similar battles. Leveraging the perspective that these historical lessons provided, MacArthur turned the table on Santayana’s famous quote and the opposing forces at Inchon, not MacArthur, became the ones doomed to repeat the past. MacArthur was not lucky, but he certainly was Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

  8. Generals Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, and Claude Hamilton, leading the charge!

  9. zoran mitrovski said

    How many people today would stand up against an establishment for their convictions. MacArthur was the leader who had the courage to stand up and do what was right. Evil happens when good men do nothing. MacArthur was a good man and the evil was turned back. What would have happened and how many more people would have died if the general listened to the critics. Thanks Orrin for yet giving me another example of what it takes to become a leader.

  10. jimmy varghese said

    A true rascal indeed. In the face of adversity he kept on. Such as in the LIFE business. So many express that this country has no chance however we stand up to this and continue to fight as we improve ourselves and in effect change the world around us. Great post!

  11. Neera Puri said

    Thank you for writing this moving narrative.
    General MacArthur’s moving speech, risk taking and courage were captivating. I wish we had been taught these historical, character ethic stories in school.

  12. Beth said

    Wow! amazing history lesson to remember and learn! Thank you, Orrin, for being a man of conviction, believing “right makes might” and inspiring us to keep going for LIFE!!!

  13. Jim Martin said

    Great post Orrin. You mention couragous leadership and associate Tim Marks in that group, I have been following Tim for over ten years and will continue to follow his leadership. He is that couragous leader that you would hate him if you were in a battle against him but love him when he is on your side, his tenacity is contagious. He is a modern day MacArthur

  14. Kevin Hamm said

    Thanks Orrin,

    I love General MacArthur. What a leader. I love when he ate his “untested meal” at the Japanese surrender, I also love his quote “Do not give an instruction that can be understood, give an instruction that cannot be misunderstood.” and of course, I love his “Build me a son”, prayer. Truly, a great man. Thanks for another example.

  15. Jerry Harteis said

    Orrin,

    Another great example of how courage and thinking out of the box are necessary to achieve success. Life is truly helping people to develop the courage to do extraordinary things for themselves, their families , and others. Thanks for your courageous leadership.

  16. Robin Lawrence said

    Incredible example of leadership! Thanks!

  17. Scott Staley said

    Great article Orrin. I love history, particulary history during periods of trials/tribulations as it shows the character of the people so clearly.

    I love the example that was outlined with MacArthur. There were so many reasons why not to proceed; however, his focus never wavered from the reasons to proceed. The goal was definitely bigger than the obstacles. Thank you for sharing such a great article with us.

  18. Steve Leurquin said

    What a great historical example of courage! Thanks for your research and perspective of this great man. I appreciate what you do on this blog as I am able to take your articles and use them to teach my children for their history lessons.

  19. steve sager said

    Orrin,

    Your example of courage and leadership inspires each of us to step out of our comfort zones and lead others. Thank you!

    General MacArthur was convicted of his belief and developed a game plan; as others criticized him. With that kind of courage and commitment, he opened the door for others to follow. Thank you for a great history lesson on unleashing our hidden talents and abilities that are deep, within all of us…

    Steve Sager
    Stealth UF

  20. Martha Coloma said

    Great article, may the Lord help us to bring out the greatness that lives with in us!

  21. JB Thompson said

    Wow. What great information to know about MacArthur! It is great when people stand in the gap and defend their ideas. It also shows that MacArthur was a great listener because he let all the critics take their shots at his plan, then he defended it with the very points they were against. Phenomenal blog, thank you Orrin.

  22. Trevor Long said

    Imagine a world without courageous men like MacArthur. I know I would not have worked with and taught the many South Korean’s that have the freedom to leave their Country.

  23. Tim Samuels said

    Great post Orrin, MacArthur leadership is inspiring!

  24. Gloria Phibbs said

    Leadership requires boldness in the face of adversity.
    “Watever you can do, or dream you can begin it.
    Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
    Begin it now.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

  25. Tammy Darling said

    So honored to be in a business with people who displaying courageous leadership!

  26. Valeria Mattis said

    Amazing!!

  27. JR Harriman said

    Awesome, thanks for sharing this Orrin.

  28. John Lewis said

    Thanks Orrin! What a great reminder from history that when the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count!

  29. Tim Miller said

    Orrin,
    Thanks for giving us something great to be a part of with Life and Team.

  30. Tony Hoffman said

    What a wonderful narrative about an individual who made a difference in the lives of many people! I love the writing, “right makes might” and feel blessed to be involved with the Team/LIFE movement whose purpose is to do right for others!

  31. Michael Stithem said

    Amazing

  32. “Few men in history,….. have displayed courageous leadership any better. ” That sentence sums up Orrin Woodward too!

    Those men followed MacArthur, but today, Marc and I follow an equally great leader in Orrin Woodward. Honored to be called into this battle- I wouldn’t have been able to be in the battle of Inchon (pretty happy about that) , but I surely can play my part in this one!

  33. Great article Orrin!! Leadership makes the difference!!

  34. Renee Oettinger said

    Courageous character in action. What a difference it can make.

  35. Matt Ruhlman said

    I am always amazed I haven’t heard of the things every blog of yours I read, thanks Orrin.

  36. Jason Dames said

    Wow I never new much about Douglas Mcarthur. Thank you Orrin for this post!!!

  37. Libbie Quinn said

    American. Patriot. Leader.
    Thank you, Orrin.

  38. Kim Decker said

    Orrin,
    This is such an inspiring story. Yes, this story is just like YOU to stand up against the times and take charge. We all need to do this and we will one person at a time. Thank you for a great story.

  39. Kevin Hafner said

    Wow !! Great post Orrin. I remember my great grandmother reading letters from my great grandfather who served under general MacArthur during world war 2. It really brings great memories to mind. Unfortunately I never met my great grandfather he gave his life for his country. Thanks again and God bless.

  40. robert wilcox said

    Awesome! History Leadership and Courage all rolled into one… Thanks for sharing Orrin. This is just a great example of how the factory belt education has taken claim over the majority of our school system. My History class was as simple as draw a line from famous person to ONE of the events he was involved in. There is no substance in that … but this research and information you shared is soo impactful! Thank You !

  41. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    After a “tough” day in the life of the LIFE business this blog brings about perspective. What an amazing story of destiny as determination.

  42. IRVING PRESSER said

    NO ONE GREATER THAN DOUGLAS MacARTHUR.
    WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT PRESIDENT. HAD LEADERSHIP, SOMETHING WHICH IS MISSING IN WASHINGTON TODAY.
    HAD THE HONOR OF WRITING TO MRS JEAN MacARTHUR AT THE WALDORF ASTORIA TOWERS IN NYC FOR MANY YEARS
    AND RECEIVED NOTES FROM HER, BASED UPON MY TELLING HER WHAT A GREAT MAN DOUGLAS MacARTHUR WAS.

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