Arthur Lawrence Mackusick Jr.

1935 - 2017

Vietnam War

Their Story

Arthur Lawrence MacKusick Jr. was born on October 29th, 1935 to Elizabeth MacKusick and his namesake: Arthur Lawrence MacKusick Sr. It was not just a name that MacKusick inherited from his father, but also a legacy of military heroism and the drive to serve his country. Arthur Lawrence MacKusick Sr. served in World War II and the Korean War, retiring as a Colonel in the US Army.[1] At age 18 MacKusick would follow in his father’s footsteps as he was nominated for admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point by Senator Pennett of Utah.[2]

The United States Military Academy at West Point is the oldest and most prestigious military academy in the country. Established as a fortress in the Revolutionary War, George Washington considered it the most significant strategic point in the US. Despite being the site where American general Benedict Arnold attempted to betray the Revolutionaries, the fortress at West Point never fell to the British. Later, second and third presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both worked to develop the fortress into a military academy to provide engineers for the United States Army, which previously had to hire foreign engineers for its military operations. Throughout the centuries, West Point has developed into a crucial academy for the training of the Army’s brightest officer prospects.[3] It was at this honorable institution that MacKusick was molded into an Army officer.

The curriculum that MacKusick trained under at West Point was designed to turn him into the ideal Army officer for the Cold War era. The basic training and values of West Point, still espoused today, are designed to “educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.”[4] Following the Second World War, with the US dominant on the world stage and competing in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, West Point shifted its curriculum as a result of “the dramatic developments in science and technology, the increasing need to understand other cultures and the rising level of general education in the Army.”[5] This shift towards technology and cultural awareness would serve MacKusick well; his service saw him journey through a globe-trotting career in Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Thailand, and other various posts.[6]

MacKusick would serve with distinction for twenty-nine years following his graduation from West Point. Throughout his service he earned the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Meritorious Service medals. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, before retiring with his wife Patricia to live in Davenport, IA. He enjoyed military history, reading, gardening, trap shooting, golfing, and living with his dogs as a retiree.[7] MacKusick ultimately passed away at the age of 81 on March 22nd, 2017. He was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, sister, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He left behind the legacy of a family dedicated to their country, serving through two generations of wars that saw the United States elevated as a global super-power over the course of the 20th century.


[1] “Arthur L. MacKusick (1910-1996),” Find a Grave, June 1, 2016,

[2] “Sen. Pennett Names 7 to Academies,” The News Bulletin, March 6, 1953, pp. 4-4.

[3] “History of West Point,” United States Military Academy – West Point, accessed May 6, 2022,

[4] “About West Point,” United States Military Academy – West Point, accessed May 6, 2022,

[5] “About West Point,” United States Military Academy – West Point, accessed May 6, 2022,

[6] “Arthur Lawrence Mackusick Jr,” Veterans Legacy Memorial, accessed May 5, 2022,

[7] “Arthur Lawrence Mackusick Jr,” Veterans Legacy Memorial, accessed May 5, 2022,