Friday, September 02, 2005

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson, 39, of Norcross, Georgia.

Sgt Parson died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his M3A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle was struck by an enemy explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson, a tank commander, was killed Friday in Baghdad when his tank was struck by an explosive, according to the Department of Defense.

Parson, 39, had served in the military for 18 years and was on his third tour in Iraq, family members said.

Born in Mobile, Parson grew up in the White House Fork community just west of Bay Minette, where he lived until about a year after high school, according to his mother, Thelma Lassiter Catrett.

Parson left for Iraq in late July, after being home for two weeks, said his grandmother Dorothy Carpenter. The two spoke on the phone before he left.

"He told me, 'I take care of my men, I look after them,'" Carpenter recalled her grandson as saying. "'And I don't tell them to do anything that I wouldn't do.'"

Parson tried to assure his grandmother that he would return home soon.

"I'll be back Christmas," she said he told her. "And I won't be going back anymore."

Parson served in Operation Desert Storm and previously fought in Iraqi Freedom, his family said.

"He loved what he did," Catrett said. "And he was good at it."

Military officials could not provide details about Parson's service, but his mother said he had been awarded a Silver Star, "for gallantry in action" and a Bronze Star, for "heroic or meritorious achievement."

Both Parson's mother and grandmother said he was proud of his service, and Carpenter added, "He was just a sweet, easygoing person -- real lovable."

He will be buried in the White House Fork Baptist Cemetery, alongside his grandfather, Carpenter said. Funeral arrangements had not been made.

Along with his mother and grandmother, Parson is survived by his wife, Michelle Presley Parson, his son, Lance Parson, 15, his daughter, Paige Parson, 13, his sister, Pamela Sue Higgington, and two brothers, Curtis Mack Gray and Jesse Daniel Gray. Though the two have slightly different last names, family members said Parson also was a nephew of Mobile County School Board member Lonnie Parsons.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie J. Parson was killed in action on 09/02/05.

No comments: