"There was other recreation. One of the General's pastimes was to watch movies over at the embassy, and he'd invite us boys over. He was always very friendly with us, as was his wife. We'd sit there with him and watch movies, newsreels. If it was an Army/Navy game, we'd all go crazy. He would, too."
Valley spent a year and a half in MacArthur's Honor Guard. When Valley returned to the States, he found his experience in Korea and in Tokyo gave him the self-confidence to apply to the University of Massachusetts, where he ended up studying engineering. His love for Japan stayed with him, and his familiarity with the country and language enriched his career. In the late 1960s, he moved to San Diego to work for Union Carbide, and when the company wanted to set up a division in Japan, they sent Valley. For the next 20 years, Valley spent long periods working in Japan, and it was there, in 1988, that the General MacArthur Honor Guard Association tracked him down and asked him to join.
Of the 1800 or so men who served in the Honor Guard, roughly 500 now belong to the Association, four of whom, including Valley, live in San Diego. Last fall, Valley suggested the membership make a trip to Japan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MacArthur's departure from the country America had occupied and, ultimately, aided.
"Japan was completely decimated after the war. While most people recognize that MacArthur was a great general, they're often not aware that he was an equally great humanitarian. After the war, the Japanese were starving, people were literally dying in the streets from hunger, and the Japanese lacked resources for controlling disease. MacArthur commandeered all the food that had been stored up but never used for the invasion of Kyushu, and he turned it over to the Japanese people. He established a vaccine program against smallpox and diphtheria, and it's estimated that the program saved as many as two million Japanese lives.
"When we decided to do the 50th-anniversary trip to Japan, we thought that we needed some sort of book to mark the occasion. I suggested a book about MacArthur, something that would give a true impression of the man, his personality, his talents, all that he accomplished in Japan. The Association suggested that I write it, and so I did, Gaijin Shogun, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Stepfather of Postwar Japan. It was something I could do to honor the man."
Valley, now 69 years old, living in semi-retirement, says time hasn't dimmed his memories of the General.
"I can still see him clearly. He came to visit our unit around Thanksgiving time. I can still see him standing there beside his Jeep, corncob pipe in his hand, and he looked at us and said, 'You boys are going to be home by Christmas.' And if the Chinese hadn't gotten into the picture, we would have been."