In 1948, Sibyl Kathigasu became the only Malaysian woman to receive the George Medal for gallantry, the highest civilian honor given by King George VI. Why did she receive such an honor? During World War II she actively resisted the Japanese occupation of what was then British Malaya. As a trained nurse, she provided medical care for members of the guerrilla resistance movement. She also passed along important information and helped smuggle guerrilla fighters through Japanese held territory. Captured by the Japanese in 1943, she was repeatedly tortured but never betrayed the other members of the resistance movement. Her commitment to the Allied cause made her a heroine to the people of Malaya and to the British. (26:33)
Ned Almond is regarded as one of the more controversial American generals of World War II and the Korean War. While most historians agree that Almond was talented and had a distinguished combat record, he also openly espoused the idea that black soldiers were less capable than white soldiers. This overt racism has dominated scholarship of his life, but does not help explain why men like George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, and Mathew Ridgway saw him as an asset. To help unpack this complicated story, MacArthur Memorial staff recently discussed Almond’s career with Dr. Michael Lynch, a research historian at the US Army Heritage and Education Center.