Secret War In The Pacific

The story of Commander Charles “Chick” Parsons, the man General Douglas MacArthur called, “The bravest man he had ever known.”



by: Peter Parsons

Looking back on the life of my father, Chick Parsons, it is hard to believe that he came from such humble origins, a country boy from rural Tennessee. My cousins told me that Chick’s dad was always one step of the landlords or the bill collectors. A multi colored tale shows the young man taken to the Philippines as a five-year-old by his maternal uncle. Apparently he learned Spanish at that time, studying in Intramuros. Maybe more important was the beginning of his love for that country! And it was then and there that the seeds were sewn for what developed into his role in WWII that helped liberate the Philippines from the Japanese; and later, his role as a  businessman, important to the post war development of both countries.


The complete archival files from Chick Parsons’ collection is now housed at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia. Before it was turned over to the professionals, Peter Parsons had made a stab at organizing the material, and created an annotated list of the contents. I (Peter Parsons) include that list in this web site only to guide users as to what they can find, in a much more orderly system, in the MacMem archives. The MacMem houses the best collection of WWII documents, photos, books and other material that exists, and it continues to grow these.


The Famous Return

The most famous phrase from WWII arguably is: “I shall return.”  The three words spoken by General Douglas MacArthur on his arrival in Australia from the Philippines. Three words, so powerful and inspirational that they gave Filipinos life, hope and the ability to resist the Imperial Japanese Army, keeping in mind that the USA [not just the general!] would return in strength and defeat the abusive enemy.

Parsons had been assisting GHQ with a group of 20 “SPYRON” submarines that supplied radios, arms, medicines, clothing to the resistance forces throughout the islands, but now he was relieved of those duties and ordered by the General to scout the proposed invasion beaches of Leyte. 

Parsons and an Army cohort, Frank Rawolle, were dropped near the said beaches by Black Cat PBY about ten days ahead of the invasion date. Parsons reported the beaches clear of mines and obstacles. He also established personal contact with the local guerrillas through his friend Ruperto Kangleon.

One of the largest and most successful invasions in history took place on Oct 20, 1944, and MacArthur had now two armies under his command: his own, and the Filipino guerrillas who took their place BEHIND the surprised Japanese.