Army Spc. Charles ‘Dusty’ Parrish, 23, of Jasper, Ala.
Spc. Parrish was assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; died June 4, 2009 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered earlier that day in Jalula, Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank grenade.
Was 1 month short of returning home
The Associated Press
JASPER, Ala. — A 23-year-old soldier from Jasper died in rocket-propelled grenade attack in northern Iraq, just about a month shy of his expected return from Iraq next month, his mother said.
Spc. Dusty Parrish died June 4 during a reconnaissance mission to clear land mines, said his mother, Tina Rigsby.
Rigsby said her son was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and had recently re-enlisted. She said he had been in Iraq for 14 months and was to be stationed in Columbus, Ga., after his expected return from Iraq on July 15.
His homecoming was eagerly anticipated by his wife, Ashley, and his 4-year-old son Caden, Rigsby said.
An Army medic, Parrish trained many of the medics who assisted in his surgery after the attack, his mother said.
“They said he gave a good fight,” she said.
Parrish graduated from Walker County High School in 2003 and had been in the Army three years. He enjoyed weightlifting and won some bodybuilding competitions while in the Army, Rigsby said.
“He was very athletic,” she said. “He couldn’t wait to get home because this is his son’s first year to play T-ball. He was going to come home and tell him how to bat.”
Most of all, Rigsby said, her son was always there to cheer her up.
“Dusty was the type of person who would make you laugh,” she said. “He had an innate ability to make you happy when you were sad.”
On Friday afternoon, the family was still struggling with how to tell Caden his dad wouldn’t be coming home.
“I hate that we have to tell his son,” Rigsby said.
Army Spc. Charles ‘Dusty’ Parrish was killed in action on 6/04/09.