Harlan Clyde Parks – Major General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired June 1960, Died May 4, 1987

Harlan Clyde Parks was born in Salem, Iowa. He graduated from Ottumwa High School in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1925. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point June 13, 1929. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artil1ary Corps.

From September 1929 to June 1930, General Parks attended Primary Flying School. During the next ten years, he served at various Coast Artillery bases in the United States, Hawaii and the Panama Canal Zone. During this tour, he graduated from the Coast Artillery School (Class of 1936).

In Apri1 1941, General Parks was transferred to the Trinidad Sector and Base Command where he served as operations officer and an assistant chief of staff. In June 1943 he entered the Anti-aircraft School, Camp Davis, North Carolina, completed the course in two months and was assigned operations and training staff officer of the
Antiaircraft Training Command Fort Bliss, Texas.

General Parks entered the Army-Navy Staff College in June l944. Upon graduation five months later, he was assigned to the War Department General Staff in tbe G-1  Personnel Division where he served for two years.

On June 28, 1946, General Parks was transferred from the Coast Artillery to the Air Force. Five months later, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Andrews Air Force Bases, Maryland, as deputy chief of staff.

He attended the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, from June 1947 to June 1948, after which he was appointed executive officer, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, at Air Force Headquarters. In July 1949 he became director of personnel planning, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel.

General Parks was named commander of Parks Air Force Base, Pleasanton, California, in June 1952. He assumed command of the 3380th Technical Wing at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the Electronics Center of the Air Force – on August 20, 1953.

On April 6, 1955, General Parks was assigned as senior member of the United Nations Command component of the Military Armistice Commission in Korea. In November of the same year, he joined the Far East Command in Tokyo as assistant chief of staff for personnel.

In December 1956, General Parks became chief of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service with Headquarters in New York City. In his present assignment he is responsible for the worldwide administration of the post exchanges in the Army and base exchanges in the Air Force.

General Parks has been awarded the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Commendation Ribbon, the Order of the British Empire, and the Order of Military Merit Taeguk (Republic of Korea).


He is a low handicap golfer. During 1958, he shared winning honors with Doug Ford in the Pepsi Cola – Boys' Club Celebrity Tournament. He enjoys all forms of outdoor sports and recreations — is an expert fisherman, an ardent Yankee baseball fan and a football enthusiast.

Protestant, no denominational preference. Civic affiliations: Chamber of Commerce; Boy Scouts of America. Is an Eagle Scout. Served as president, Far East Council, BSA, Japan.


Although he enjoys foreign specialties and native dishes, he prefers simple cooking. Basically, be is a “steak and potatoes” man. In clothes, he prefers informal sportswear.

Enjoys Broadway productions — especially musicals. In travel, he prefers areas having mild climate. Likes California because weather permits frequent golfing. His favorite scenery is coast lines, lakes, rivers, bayous, mountains and golf courses. His reading tastes range from westerns to historical novels and include publications on business management, current events, etc.

His associates describe him as possessing a warm and responsive personality based on sincerity and interest in other people. He has a remarkable ability to evaluate people accurately, and he quickly recognizes ability. He is a firm believer in the principle that it is people, more than any other factor, that determine the success or failure of an organization.

General Parks was buried with full military honors in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.

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