SAN ANTONIO - The life and career of retired Col. Ralph Parr, Jr. was remembered Monday at Randolph Air Force Base, as family, friends, and colleagues paid tribute to the Air Force Veteran.
Parr, 88, passed away Dec. 7 at an assisted living facility in New Braunfels.
"In front of America, we lost one of the greatest true patriots our Air Force has ever brought forth," said Richard M. Murphy, former Commander of the 12th Wing. "Ralph Parr was a friend of mine, he was a friend of the 12th wing. As a former 12th wing commander, he was very well attached to the 12th wing and the men and women who serve here at Randolph Air Force Base."
During his career, Parr flew 641 combat missions, and received more than 60 decorations. He is the only American pilot in history to receive both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force Cross.
"It's hard to imagine a man having that kind of courage, but he certainly did," said Retired Col. Gary P. Baber of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilot Association. "I think that's the main legacy he left for us. A legacy of courage, and doing one's duty."
Parr was forced to retire after a back injury, but is still considered one of the most experienced combat veterans of our time.
"He spent the rest of his life being an example to airmen. The kind of example we all strive to be," said Col. Gerald Goodfellow, Commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph. "The generation we live in today. I hope it's produced a few Ralph Parr's, because America needs men like that to this day."
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