Aggie passed along word of a remarkable Texan who has left us recently.
Col. Ralph S. Parr Jr., 88, who was the only American pilot to receive both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force Cross, passed away Dec. 7 at an assisted living facility in New Braunfels, Texas.
Joint Base San Antonio will honor the legacy of one of the Air Force’s most celebrated pilots and a former 12th Tactical Fighter Wing commander at a funeral service planned for 11:30 a.m. Monday in the JBSA-Randolph theater. Interment will follow the funeral service at 2 p.m. at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Parr was born in 1924 in Portsmouth, Va. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve Nov. 4, 1942 and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program Feb. 2, 1943, earning his wings and a commission in the U.S. Army Air Forces Feb. 8, 1944. Parr was forced to retire in 1976 after sustaining a back injury while inspecting a roof for hurricane damage at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
During his career, he flew 641 combat missions with more than 6,000 hours and received more than 60 decorations, including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 41 Air Medals.
He was an import, instead of a native, but from my experience, Texas is pretty welcoming that way.
And it is nice to see the Air Force giving a nod to someone who contributed so much to their heritage. The Air Force is a young service, and as such, traditions don’t stretch back centuries. Indeed, the Air Force can still reach out to veterans who were serving from Day One as an independent service. But the way to build strong traditions, is to start them.