Arthur Middleton Parker
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by COL (RET) DOUG THORNBLOM, '66 on May 5, 2013:
Art Parker was my room mate at West Point for one semester. He was a quiet guy from South Carolina who loved rock music and NASCAR, and would gladly talk to anyone about either (his favorite stock cars were the Pontiac Bonnevilles, and told me what a thrill it was when he was listening to a race over the radio and as they approached the checkered flag the announcer would say "...aaand here come the Big Chiefs.") Funny, some of the things we remember about old friends.
Art was a natural born leader, well liked by all, and filled with promise for a great Army career. He weathered the trials of Beast, Plebe year, and Academics better than most of us.
We enjoyed sitting behind our desks in the evening talking about our lives, and he confessed to me one time that he had no idea what West Point was like when he applied for admission: he showed up on the first day of Beast Barracks with his tennis racket, hoping to get a set or two in after being assigned his dorm room.
One of the terrible ironies of the Vietnam War was that when I arrived at the Vietnamese Airborne Advisory Team HQ in the Summer of '68, I learned that he had recently been killed, and that I was to be his replacement. He was very well respected by both his American team mates and the Vietnamese officers he dealt with- tough shoes to try to fill.
Like so many others, his was a promising young life cut too short- but he died a soldier, doing his duty for his country.
"Well Done", Art.
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