1st Lieutenant Benny Carroll Parker was born August 16, 1945 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He voluntarily joined the US Army when he was 22 while attending the University of Tennessee and was a member of their ROTC. He was a Huey Cobra helicopter pilot serving a year in Vietnam in 1968. After his highly decorated tour in Vietnam he was assigned as a training instructor in Savannah, Ga. when his helicopter malfunctioned and both he and his student were killed.
Benny was married to the former Rebecca Jean Lawson from Knoxville, Tennessee. He left behind one son Phillip Dean Parker and a yet to be born Wendy Carroll Parker. He was the son of Fred A Parker, Atlanta, Georgia and Iva Jean Parker, Knoxville, Tennessee. Carroll and Lynn Parker of Knoxville were his Grandparents. Benny had three younger brothers, Danny, Patrick and Scott.
Upon joining the Army Benny was assigned to Officer Training School in Mineral Wells, Texas. He was accepted to become an aviator and graduated first in his class out of 260. He received the Distinguished Graduate award at Graduation. He then was deployed to Vietnam flying the Huey Cobra. He was assigned to Troop D (Air) 1st Squadron 4th US Cavalry/Dark Horse.
Benny’s many awards include:
Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with 33 oak leaf clusters
Air Medal With Valorous Service Device
Army Commendation Medal
Vietnamese Cross Of Gallantry
Benny crowded a whole fruitful lifetime into less than a quarter of a century.He professed his faith in Almighty God and joined Vestal Methodist Church of which he was a member until he joined the Church Triumphant.
He had a radiance in his face that reflected a sunrise in his heart. Benny loved fiercely his three brothers, his two children and wife, his entire family with a host of Cameron and Parker cousins.
Benny dedicated himself to the Cause in which he believed. He chose a scripture from God’s word which represent his confidence:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Last three photos below provided by Danny Parker, the brother of Benny Parker, who writes:
“I wanted to add three photos:
1. A photo of him and his wife when he graduated #1 in his class and got his Wings.
2. A photo of Benny taken a couple years prior to his joining the Army.
3. Letter our mother received the day after Benny’s death.”