LaGRANDE, Ore. – The last original member of the Oregon Air National Guard died over the weekend.
In April 1941, Fred Parish enlisted—along with 117 other Oregonians—in the newly-formed 123rd Observation Squadron, Oregon’s first military aviation unit.
The 123rd Observation Squadron would eventually become the 123rd Fighter Squadron based out of Portland.
The Oregon Military Department said during World War II, Parish was deployed to the China-Burma-India Theater as a medic.
Parish remained in the military until 1945, leaving with the rank of Technical Sergeant.
“The Oregon Air National Guard has been an integral part of the nation’s air defense since 1941, and Fred was at the cutting edge of that success,” said Brig. Gen. Donna Prigmore, Commander, Oregon Air National Guard. “He was a brave and motivated man who helped pave the way for our future, and for that, we will always be grateful.”
Parish would have celebrated his 99th birthday this summer.