Billy Joe Parrish
SFC Billy Joe Parish entered on Active Duty from March 24, 1954 at Fort Gordan Georgia to March 22, 1957 with assignments to Company H, 4th Infantry, Alaska and Company H, Fort Lewis Washington. He was transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve for commpletion of his 6 years Reserve duty obligation. On 13 Mar 1958, he was discharged from USAR and entered into the Regular Army.
From 14 March 1958 to 4 October 1961, he served in infantry reaching the rank of Sergeant. He re-enlisted for two years and served as a Sergeant from October 1961 to October 1963 in the infantry again.
From October 1963 to February 1966 he served at Fort Davis, Canal Zone as a Squad and Team leader. He next returned to the United States at Fort Ord California as a Drill Sergeant until 4 October 1967. He appeared to be headed back to the Canal Zone but on 20 December 1967 he went on Temporary Duty (TDY) with the Dog Training Detachment of the 25th Infantry Division, US Army Pacific.
He was then assigned to the 38th Infantry (Scout Dogs) from 12 March 1968 as a Scout Observer and then to the 66th Infantry Platoon (Combat Tracker) as an 11F40 Team Leader.
Although we do not have definite proof, it appears that then SSG Parrish was killed on the same day that SP4 Rodney E. Marrufo died from his wounds. Parrish went missing during the firefight with a hostile enemy on 23 May and was declared killed on 27 May when his body was recovered. He was posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class (SFC).
SP4 Marrufo's record states he was wounded when hit by fragments from a 'friendly' rocket that was launched against the enemy during a hostile firefight, was admitted to a military hospital and 'later expired' from those wounds on 23 May 1968. The Virtual Wall has no confirmation for the date of the firefight. Both men were awarded a Silver Star.
SFC Parish in Vietnam. Date and location unknown.
Local area papers, announced similarly: SFC Billy Joe Parrish, 32, of 810 S. 45th St., who died in action in Vietnam 23 May (1968), was born in Marshall County Alabama and came to Tacoma Washington in 1956. He was a member of the Baptist Church and was an Army veteran of Korea and Vietnam.
Survivors include his wife, Joyce M.; three sons, Tary and David C. Parrish, of the home, and Rickie Pender, of the home; his father, Artemus, of Chicago; his mother, Mrs. Louise Baldi, of Memphis TN; two sisters, Mrs. Janell Littlefield, of Cheyenne WY, and Mrs. Wanda Green of Coon Rapids MN; and a brother Robert, of Chicago.
SFC Parrish is buried at Mountain View Memorial Park in Tacoma, Washington.
- - - The Virtual Wall, October 3, 2016
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