General Douglas MacArthur lands in the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, January 9, 1945

General Douglas MacArthur lands in the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, January 9, 1945

Usage conditions apply
After covering the Italian and French campaigns of 1944, Mydans was sent back to the Pacific that November. Although he photographed some of the Leyte campaign, he missed General MacArthur's famous return to the Philippines. On January 9, 1945, Mydans photographed MacArthur as he landed in Luzon. According to Mydans, MacArthur did not believe in posed pictures: No one I have ever known in public life had a better understanding of the drama and power of a picture.
When the time came, Mydans jumped out of the boat unto the pontoon walkway set up for MacArthur's arrival only to see the craft reverse its engines and back away. Mydans quickly ran across the beach and waited for the boat to come to him. Once the ramp dropped, he photographed MacArthur knee-deep in the water as he waded ashore, thus creating one of his most memorable shots. The image was taken just five hours after the first wave assault on the beach. Mydans was the only still photographer to accompany General MacArthur on the U.S.S. Boise, his command ship, during the invasion of Luzon. Many years after that landing, Mydans shared an intimate moment with MacArthur upon their return to Luzon. After standing on Lingayen Beach in front of a plaque commemorating the event, MacArthur walked over to Mydans and said, "This is the highlight of it all, isn't it? For you and me." (LIFE, July 14, 1961).
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Mydans, Carl
place made
Philippines: Lingayen Gulf
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 11 in x 14 in; 27.94 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


The Man to the right of the picture with the cocked Helmet is August " Augie " West of Shelbyville IL
I wish that I knew exactly where that was. I walked the beaches there, when I visited my wife's family in Lingayen, Pangasinan Province.
General Douglas MacArthur originally landed in the Blue Beach of San Fabian, eastern section of the Lingayen Gulf, exactly 2:15 p.m. of January 9, 1945.
Who are the other people in this photo of MacArthur?

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.