Dixie S. Parker
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Service Number O-1686633
Missing in Action – Presumed Dead
Died November 27, 1950 in Korea
First Lieutenant Parker was a member of Battery B, 8th Field Artillery Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
He was seriously wounded by the enemy in South Korea on September 4, 1950 and returned to duty on September 6, 1950.
He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy in North Korea on November 27, 1950. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953.
For his leadership and valor, First Lieutenant Parker was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.
A Bibb County, Alabama, soldier, lost to family and friends for 57 years, will be memorialized in Green Pond on Sunday and buried with military honors December 6, 2007, in Arlington National Cemetery.
First Lieutenant Dixie Siniard “Jackie” Parker Jr., 27, was serving in an artillery unit of the 25th Infantry Division in North Korea when he was declared missing in action on November 27, 1950. He had been wounded two months earlier in South Korea.
Parker was missing until his remains were recovered in North Korea and turned over to American authorities. No details of when, where or how they were found were immediately available from military authorities.
Relatives in Nebraska received news from military authorities in July. Friends in Green Pond, 30 miles southwest of Birmingham, were notified three weeks ago.
One of those who regarded Parker as his hero was Noel Hubbard, today 68 and the town's librarian. He lived next door to the family and was 11 when an Army officer arrived at the Parker home with news that Dixie was missing.
His father and stepmother, Douglas and Evelyn Parker, lived on Eastern Valley Road. His grandparents lived across the road.
He used to pitch in baseball games in cow pastures and was popular with the girls.
Parker was adventuresome.
“He used to go up to Bessemer, rent a plane and buzz our homes,” Hubbard said. “It fascinated us to death.”
Despite the passage of time, the soldier's memory has been kept alive. An American flag and framed photo of Parker in his uniform have been on the back wall of Green Pond Presbyterian Church for a decade.
“On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we put fresh red, white and blue flowers in a vase,” Hubbard said.
After learning that his remains had been recovered and identified, Green Pond residents had a marble marker in his honor placed on the family plot in the church cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on November 25.
While few details of his life can be documented, in the early 1950s, Parker was featured in a magazine.
An interview with Parker is in the March 1952 issue of Stag magazine, which is no longer published. Hubbard has a copy.
In it, he describes an incident in August 1950 in South Korea when he disabled two North Korean tanks with a bazooka. For it he received the Bronze Star.
In the article, Parker said he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and was a machine gunner on a heavy bomber. He was shot down on his 35th mission over Europe and escaped to American lines with the help of underground forces.
He said he was in Japan when the Korean War began on June 25, 1950, and he arrived in Korea on July 8. He left a girlfriend behind.
“There was Maxine Miller, a Captain in the Nurses' corps, in Osaka, where I'd been stationed almost a year,” he said in the article. “We'd been talking pretty seriously about a future together.”
As much as Hubbard and others in Green Pond wanted Parker buried there, they understand that the wishes of next of kin take precedence.
Bonnie Hammond, of Alma, Nebraska, said her father-in-law, a World War II Navy veteran, was Parker's cousin and talked about him.
Her husband, Gary, is Dixie's second cousin and oldest living relative. That allows him to have the final say regarding where the soldier's remains would be buried on December 6, 2007.
They will also attend the Nov. 25 memorial in Green Pond.
“In making his decision for Arlington National Cemetery as Dixie's final resting place, my husband did so out of the utmost respect for his service to his country and his ultimate sacrifice,” she said.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Korean War Soldier buried at Arlington after MIA for 57 years
Yesterday a Soldier named Dixie was buried at Arlington National Cemetery after being declared missing in action on November 27, 1950 in Korea. It is quite fitting that First Lieutenant Dixie Parker of Green Pond, Alabama, be interred at Arlington.
The cemetery was once the home of legendary Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Parker was assigned to Battery B, 8th Field Artillery Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. He was a forward artillery observer in a defensive position overlooking the Kuryong River in North Korea.
The 25th Infantry Division had pushed forward across the 38th Parallel deep into North Korea, when masses of Chinese troops attacked American and U.N. troops and pushed them back.
General Douglas MacArthur the overall commander of U.N. forces had orchestrated a brilliant amphibious landing at Inchon on September 15, 1950, which led to the near destruction of North Korean forces.
U.N. forces soon captured the South Korean capital Seoul and moved north. MacArthur and his staff ignored warnings about possible Chinese intervention and pushed toward the Yalu River, the Chinese border.
The Chinese struck in overwhelming numbers on November 25 and pushed U.N. units back. One of the big advantages American Soldiers had was artillery. The Chinese had to travel lightly due to American airpower and had no heavy artillery.
Well-coordinated artillery was an equalizer when faced with overwhelming numbers. Parker died in his foxhole calling in artillery rounds to try and stem the tide of the enemy offensive.
American and U.N. forces were pushed back across the 38th Parallel and many dead were not recovered. A joint U.S.?Democratic People’s Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a site in 2000 overlooking the Kuryong River.
The team uncovered human remains and Parker’s dog tags and rank insignia. The job of identifying the body then fell into the hands of the scientists at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory. They used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons to identify Parker’s remains.
Yesterday Parker’s spiritual needs were finally attended to with a Catholic mass at the Old Post Chapel. A handful of family members, a couple of Soldiers and a lone civilian were the only mourners after 57 years.
The priest recalled Parker’s life and told how he flew on 35 missions as a gunner on a bomber during World War II.
‘‘He gave his life for his country in Korea,” the priest said. ‘‘At 30 years of age, he died in service to his country. He deserves all the honors of his country.”
PARKER, DIXIE S
1ST LT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II, KOREA
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/21/1923
DATE OF DEATH: 12/31/1953
BURIED AT: SECTION 28 SITE 2379
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard