Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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February 18, 2014

Saving Private Parham

(Continued)

Parham's tour ended in February, 1969.

“I was a mess, mentally and physically,” Parham said. “I had lost from 160 pounds... down to 130 pounds. I looked like a scarecrow. The worst of all the news, when I left my unit, my buddies were all happy. A few of them had a week left. A few of them had a month left. My best buddy, Sonny, had five days left, and I had three days left. So I went back and started processing out, and then on the last day that I was there, one of the officers came to me and asked me if I'd go identify one of my buddies. It was Sonny.”

Parham was asked to escort Sonny's body back, but from a mixture of the loss and the week it would take to get Sonny ready, Parham declined.

“I couldn't stay another day,” Parham said. “It was just too much. It had been 365 days of just one mess after another.

“I am here to say that it's been difficult to deal with those that I left behind – hundreds of them,” Parham said. “But I am here because I feel these guys would want me to tell a little bit of the story. And my buddies in group therapy have asked [me to tell the story]. They have a little bit harder time with it than I do, but I am willing to take the chance to start telling this a bit. And then I feel like my buddies that are no longer with us would want us to tell a little bit about what they did and that they didn't die in vain. That we were there to fight communism and to instill a life for all those that follow.

“We never lost a battle. We did not lose that war.”

 

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