Aug 2, 2009, 4:45 PM
Post #1 of 30
CSM Harry Parrish
Harry your a great man and a greater friend. I have too many memories to discuss and many more to share. You have passed all to soon, however it was doing what you loved. You have passed the world over and left alot of guidence and wisdom for us all. Blue Skies and tell dad I said hi. With the two of you up there looking down on us all we are blessed.
Aw man.......Harry was a great guy. I havent seen him 3-4 years but always got a handshake and a hug when we met up. I just dug up his challenge coin he gave me many years ago and it brings up some good memories.
Pleae email me with any particulars related with Harrys passing. He was one of the good guys.
I did not know Harry very long, but I came to trust and believe in him very quickly. He will be missed by many! My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, sister and unborn child. God bless them all! I know Harry will be watching over us all!
Wherever Harry was, it was a great place to be. I can hardly say any more than that because it says it all. I'll miss those times around the campfire and I'll miss just showing up at the DZ and there's Harry with a smile on his face ready to make the day happen. I hope they have bulldozer's in heaven. I'll be a good thought to think of him up there with a smile on his face driving around knocking things down and Patrick standing there laughing.
Harry was my first skydiving mentor. Back when he ran the Fort Campbell club in the late 80's, he was the guy who transitioned me from flailing student to real skydiver. He taught me RW, he took me to my first civilian DZ, turned me on to where I could do my first night jump, and sold me my first rig. He made me assume responsibility as the DZSO and started me on the road to being a jumpmaster (back when we had that rating). Once when I was apprehensive about getting out at 2500, he said "Chris, you are going to be doing demos where if you don't get out at two grand, you won't get out at all." His confidence in me that I would one day be doing demos meant a lot. Once, after a bad accident at Son DZ at Campbell (non-fatal) he gathered all of the new jumpers in the bleachers and said "Don't walk away from this thinking this is 'sport death'. This is something that if you are in this sport long enough, you are going see happen. Now, lets talk about how it happened." That reality check has always stayed with me. It is a dangerous sport, but can be done safely. Learn from every incident.
Harry was notorious for his bad spots. When his reserve air delivery unit got called up for Desert Storm, they were dropping humanitarian assistance to the Kurds. Some bundles wiped out a couple of dwellings and that showed up on the news. Of course we all joked that Harry must have been spotting.
I had not seen him since 1991 when I left Campbell. He was gone by the time I returned in 1998. I had tracked him down to Virginia and was hoping to look him up when I return from Afghanistan. I am very saddened that I won't get to do that now. He was one of the good guys.
Blue Skies Harry. Airborne!
Chris Reed D-15996
(This post was edited by CDRINF on Aug 3, 2009, 10:41 AM)
Being new to the sport I just met Harry a couple years ago, but from the moment I met him he became a mentor and friend. Above everything else, he made sure we were all operating safely. Truly one of the best men I've had the pleasure to meet.
Godspeed Harry. My thoughts and prayers are with the ones you left behind, but I know you'll continue to watch over them, airborne!
(This post was edited by nicknva on Aug 3, 2009, 10:43 AM)
I will miss Harry so much. I loved how he always made things more fun for us at the dropzone. He always had a big smile on his face. My heart goes out to Debbie, their unborn child, family and friends. I can just see him and Patrick looking over us all and we are blessed to have them watch over us. Stay strong and keep flying, that is what Harry would want us to keep doing. Cherish the memories forever.
Bettina - I would like to add some of my pictures of Harry, to your page. You can already see them also, on my profile page here, and I have sent you a friend request to do so. I am going to miss Harry terribly. Much love and thoughts to all those now (who are MANY) affected by his untimely passing. :(
I've volunteered to do the memorial page for Parachutist with (hopefully) some assistance from some from those closest to him to find the right words for such a great man. I'll begin working on it this week and get the space reserved before the August 14 deadline.
The cost looks to be $1410 for a full page. I'll be collecting donations. If you wish to make a donation towards this with paypal PM me for details.
(This post was edited by bkdice on Aug 3, 2009, 2:17 PM)
I do not have the words. Harry helped so many people (including me) learn to love the sky. My thoughts are with his widow and his unborn child. I was at his old USAR unit in Nashville for a change of command (the outgoing Bn Cdr was also a student at FCSPA) when I got the news and passed it along; they are also shocked and saddened. If there is a fund set up for them, I'd like to know about it. Hang in there Baby Parrish everyone is rooting for a good, stable exit! Such a tragedy.
I got the news this morning and do not think there are words to describe how saddened I was to hear about Harry's passing. Harry was a wonderful friend - always willing to go out of his way to help. His absence will be felt by a great many jumpers. My heart goes out to his family.
Always missed but never forgotten. Blue skies forever Harry. Give Patrick a hug for me.
Just wanted to let everyone know we reached our goal for the memorial page. THANK YOU SO MUCH to all those that sent money via paypal and those that made a commitment via check by snail mail and /or hand delivery.
What I heard on Fort Meade matches the news. _______________________________________ By Bill Mckelway
Published: August 4, 2009
A longtime skydiving instructor and veteran Army soldier whose body was discovered Sunday near West Point apparently died as a result of his reserve chute opening prematurely as he prepared to jump.
State police released few details about what they said appeared to be the accidental death of Command Sgt. Maj. Harry L. Parrish Jr., 53, of Fort Meade, Md. State police said the death remains under investigation.
But the head of a skydiving school said Parrish's reserve chute opened Saturday evening as he was leaning out of the door of a plane at 14,000 feet, preparing to accompany a student in a free fall. Parrish was facing toward the plane's fuselage at the time.
"It was just a freak chain of events, a terrible accident," said Jim Crouse, who heads West Point Skydiving Adventures. Parrish worked for the school on weekends, driving to West Point several times a month.
"He loved teaching and working with young people. He was just devoted to it," Crouse said.
Crouse said Parrish and the student were not quite able to leave the plane simultaneously, and when the student jumped first, Parrish's reserve chute opened. The chute, caught in the rush of air, flew straight back from the plane, pulling Parrish into the rear horizontal stabilizer, Crouse said.
Parrish fell, apparently unconscious, and landed in trees a few miles east of the airport. "He was about 15 feet off the ground," Crouse said.
Parrish's body was not found until Sunday about 11 a.m. near the 900 block of Buena Vista Road in King and Queen County.
Skydiving schools have operated at Middle Peninsula Regional Airport near West Point since the early 1960s.
Crouse said 14 jumpers were on the plane at the time, Saturday about 7 p.m. The student jumper landed safely but is "very distraught," Crouse said. "I tried to explain that what happened wasn't anyone's fault."
A family member said Parrish was a veteran skydiver and parachute jumper of about 30 years.
"He definitely knew what he was doing," said John Parrish of Donelson, Tenn.
Parrish was the oldest of five brothers and grew up outside Nashville. He joined the Marines at 17 and was a career military officer, his brother said.
"We know he died doing something that he loved doing. Skydiving was what gave him his fix," John Parrish said.
How did the ceremony go at Ft. Meade yesterday? It happened faster than most of us got word of it and could make arrangements to be there. Eventually, there will be a get together and please post arrangments as a bunch of us want to come in to honor and celebrate Harry's life.
The ceremony was fast and those of us close by that could get out there, did. It was standing room only by the time they started, so they would have needed a place at least twice the size if everyone that wanted to come, could have come.
It has been a while since I was able to come back to this site, I'm busy playing the in the box at the moment. I just read in the Stars and Strips about CSM Harry Parrish. The sadness that engulfed me was immense and my level of anger is even more so. How do good people continue to die when we have others much more deserving. CSM Parrish to me was one of the most caring and understanding leaders I ever met.
Let me explain to you how someon like him meant so much to a pion like me. Many years ago Fort Campbell on an early Saturday morning I saw something buzz my window. I jumped up and saw parachutes flying by. Immediately I put on my clothes and ran down to Son DZ. Yeah I know, its not there anymore, a shame right?
So I arrived at the DZ and who did I meet? CSM Harry Parrish, Suzie Hanks, Auto, K-man, and Jose Malave. Harry as he wanted me to call him welcomed me like I was one of the jumpers. Suzie was the mother of the DZ and did the same. Funny thing, I thought Harry and Suzie were a couple because they ran the club so well. Harry explained to me he could train me right away but being afraid of heights I said I would wait. Many of you who knew me back then, know I was f!@#$ terrified of heights.
But every weekend I would show up and Harry and Suzie would encouraged me to learn to Skydive. I was a DZ goofer going to get lunch for the pilots. I remember everyone giving up 2 bucks to buy the BlackHawk Pilots lunch.
Harry sat me down and convinced me to learn. Suzi was the "MOM" reinforcing what "DAD" just said. I was given the following Friday off and Suzie was my instructor.
Harry would watch me jump and tell me how to control my canopy. Since then, I became a religious sky junkie. I remember, Harry telling me I would forget him, but he was wrong. I have remembered him and everyone else mentioned everytime I exited an aircraft. Because of Harry, I learned to control my fear of heights.
Since then I have competed in several Skydive Competitions and placed first with a Team at the Goldknights Invitational. I have done exhibition jumps as the team leader during football games. And I have done several high altitude night jumps. All because of the time Harry took to expose me into the world of skydiving.
Harry, thank you for taking the extra time to develop me into the Soldier I am today. Thank you for teaching me to trust my equipment and most of all have fun. I will miss you and will continue to remember you everytime I exit the aircraft. Blue skies CSM Harry Parrish, Blue skies, z
I met Harry Parrish 13 years ago on my first skydive in Cedar Valley, Utah. He was my AFF Jumpmaster. He was a fantastic instructor, and one of the safest skydivers I have ever known. Over the years, he not only taught me many valuable things but was a wonderful friend. He was always willing to teach me with utmost patience and skill, skydive with me, help me with gear, give me words of encouragement or just a sweet smile of assurance. Harry helped me purchase my gear and get my licenses and instructional ratings. Skydiving can be hard to afford, especially when you are first starting. Harry would never let me pay for my reserve repacks. All he asked in return was that I learned as much about safety as possible, and occasionally walk on his sore back for him.
Harry’s career often consumed much of his time and took him far away from us, but every chance he got he would make time to spend with us. He so often donated much of his precious free time to helping others. He has helped countless skydivers and non- jumpers progress and succeed. I remember one winter in Arizona when Harry went out of his way to join us at a boogie in Marana. He walked into our converted school bus and was greeted with a shock - we were having electrical grounding problems. The next day he showed up with a gift. He had gone to an army surplus store and bought us a grounding rod. I and many others have countless stories about Harry and his selflessness.
About a year after I started jumping, a good friend of ours was killed on an AFF jump when a student had an unusually hard opening and kicked her in the neck. Her Cypress fired and she landed unconsciously on a rock - fatally damaging her heart. Harry was the other instructor on the jump. He landed by her, and did everything he could to help, but could not save her. We were all very devastated, especially Harry. What was amazing to me was what he chose to do next. A few hours later, Harry and John Cashman walked in and announced that we were going to keep skydiving that day because that was what Janet would have wanted us to do. In fact Harry and John paid for the whole plane load. Harry really helped me to deal with that loss and the loss of many of our close friends 3 years later when the plane that John Cashman was flying crashed into the Great Salt Lake. Harry was always so grateful for skydiving and the family that it provided. I have learned to accept the fact that being in this sport I will lose friends to accidents. Skydiving has it’s risks, just like any other sport or even everyday life. The thing that makes it worth it is the amazing friendships you do make. The relationships I have built through skydiving are unlike any others, these people truly are my family. The pain I feel in losing people like Harry is excruciating, but I have to accept it as part of the cost of the honor of having had him as a friend. It helps a little to know he left us doing one of the things that brought him so much joy. He taught me to try to see that as a blessing and to just be grateful for every moment we have with our friends. I have not seen Harry for 3 years now and I have been missing him. Now I will have to miss him forever. Soon, the tears and nightmares I have been having this week will slowly fade and I will be left with a few pictures and many good memories. I will do my best to remember everything he taught me. I know he will live on in so many people’s hearts. And soon, tragically and wonderfully, he will live on in his child. If Baby Parrish is even half as great of a person as his Father, I know he will make the world a better place.
For anyone wanting information on Harry's arrangements here is some info I was sent. Once any updates are available I will post it... Sergeant Major Harry Lewis Parrish, Jr. 53, of Fort Meade, Maryland, husband of Deborah Marie Price Parrish, son of the late Harry Lewis Parrish, Sr. and the late Charlotte Neil Parish, brother of John Ernest Parrish, Fred Randall Parrish, Rebecca Parrish Wheeler and Martha Parrish Girton, died while skydiving Saturday, August 2, 2009. Announcement of arrangements for a celebration of his life to be held in approximately 4-6 weeks is forthcoming pending the birth of Baby Parrish and will be under the direction of T. W. Crow & Son Funeral Home, Scottsville, KY. In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Deborah Parrish requests donations to the Baby Parrish Education Fund, in care of Deborah Parrish. Education fund donations and condolences for Mrs. Parrish may be sent to: Mrs. Deborah Parrish co MAJ Marc Blum 1747 Theale Way Hanover, MD 21076 Memorial condolences online at: http://www.twcrow funeralhome.com