Edward H. Parker, Jr., M.D.
Note: Dr. Parker is a local associate
member of Flight 41. While he never wore pilot wings, he
did proudly wear flight surgeon wings.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and lived most of my early
years in the San Fernando Valley in the communities of North
Hollywood and Studio City. During WW II my father worked on the
P-38 at Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, CA.
Significant education began at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.
This was followed by attendance and graduation from Harvard and
the University of Southern California School of Medicine and an
internship at the LA County-USC Medical Center. That training
ended in June 1965 when I entered the Air Force and went to the
Primary Course in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB.
My first assignment was to the 824 USAF Dispensary on Okinawa,
Japan and as flight surgeon for the 44 Tactical Fighter
Squadron. The first airplane I flew in in the Air Force was the
F-105F. During that flight we went to Ie Shima where Ernie Pyle
was killed in WW II. There was a gunnery range for practicing
all kinds of maneuvers which made me feel sick, but I never
“lost my cookies.” We had a Sea Survival School and wore the old
orange flight suits. I was sent to a mini Jungle Survival School
in the northern part of the island.
Thanks to the Air Force I entered the residency in Aerospace
Medicine beginning with a year at Johns Hopkins School of
Hygiene and Public Health. Then it was off to Brooks AFB. The
most fun was going to Perrin AFB for five weeks of training in
the T 37. Our class spent a whole weekend in the water survival
school. None drowned. In January we went to Eilson AFB for
Arctic Survival School (-65°F with the wind chill factor) and
the next month we went to Panama for Jungle Survival School. At
this point I was sure the Air Force was trying to kill me or
else it thought I was going to be in a bad situation some day!
The last year of the residency was at HQ TAC/SG. Fantastic! The
command supported me in anything I wanted to do that might help
me to be a good flight surgeon.
Unofficial as it was, the “fourth year” year of the residency
was a tour at Korat RTAFB as clinic commander and flight surgeon
for the 469 TFS. This was the most challenging and rewarding
year of my career. The squadron was chronically short of back-seaters
so I ended up with 58 missions in the F-4E
Follow on assignment was to Wiesbaden AB, Germany. Then I was
off to HQ ATC/SG where I served as the Chief of Aerospace
Medicine. This tour was very good, but I decided to move back
into clinical medicine and not continue in administration. The
Air Force treated me very well and accepted me into a residency
in radiology at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. My last
assignment was at March AFB for five years.
Retirement found me at the Walla Walla Clinic where I was the
first person to be on permanent staff as a radiologist and an
owner with 30 other doctors in the clinic. I served on the board
of directors and was medical director for three years.
December 1998 I retired from the practice of medicine and Nancy
and I moved to Spokane. Getting in touch with the Air Force
again was a big plus. The first ones to welcome me to the Air
Force were Bill Moore and Al Daniels. Arne Weinman and Bob
Schwartz soon followed. I will always be grateful for their
friendships and the way they welcomed Nancy and me.
The Daedalian Society, Flight 41 has been a mainstay in my
ongoing connection to the military. Guy Perham and Greg Staples
and many others have made the flight very important to me. It
would take two pages to list all the good friends and heroes I
have come to know in Flight 41 since early 1999.
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