Douglas MacArthur had served as the commander of a combined Filipino-American force in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked in December of 1941. The Japanese defeated his force, and MacArthur was ordered to leave the islands (abandoning the men under his command in the process) in 1942. He famously promised "I shall return" shortly after he left, and he kept this promise. In October of 1944, he returned with a large expeditionary force, landing at the island of Leyte. His invasion, which was part of the broader strategy to drive the Japanese from their conquests in the Pacific, was made possible by naval victories that cleared the way for the invasion force. This invasion, and the heavy fighting that followed, ended Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The Japanese forces were mostly destroyed by the spring of 1945. So MacArthur was driven from the islands when the Japanese occupation began, and commanded the forces that ended Japanese occupation.