TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- "People often think of Chesty Puller or Smedley Butler as the model Marine, but I look up to him," Lance Cpl. Paul R. Parker III said about his father, Master Gunnery Sgt. Paul R. Parker Jr., 8th Communication Battalion's operations chief.
Parker III, a 2nd Marine Regiment multi-channel, ultra-high frequency radio operator, is currently here participating in his third Combined Arms Exercise, Combined Arms Exercise 9-02, with Marine Air Ground Task Force 2. He said he uses information passed down from his father daily, who joined the Marine Corps in 1978 as a radio operator.
The Parkers earned the title Marine after completing recruit training in San Diego. However, sometimes disagreements over the better battalion arise.
"We both went to boot camp in San Diego, but sometimes my dad jokes and gives me a hard time because he was 3rd Battalion and I was 1st Battalion," the Oceanside, Calif., Marine said.
After recruit training, Parker's father deployed with a platoon of mortar men to Hawaii for on-the-job training as a radio operator. Then, he graduated communications school here and returned for his first CAX later that same year.
Parker III graduated high school and set out to follow in his father's footsteps. He enlisted in the Marine Corps a contract private first class for his assistance recruiting others and, like his father, attended communications school here. While Parker was at the school, his father, then a master sergeant, was the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge for his company.
"That was good because my dad and I got to spend a lot of time together," Parker said. "People often ask me now if I call him 'Master Guns', but I say no. I just call him 'Dad'. My dad has always been there for me. He was a strong factor for me growing up. He gave me guidance and kept me out of trouble. He was the typical Marine father - he even had me field-daying," Parker III joked.
Parker said his father was a big factor in him joining the Marine Corps.
"He's my hero. He's a Gulf War veteran and helped evacuate embassies in Zaire and Albania while with the Marine Expeditionary Unit. I wanted to emulate him," the MUX operator said."
Parker said they don't come much better than his father. He said he has 19 ribbons, some of them with 2nd and 3rd awards and a Combat Action Ribbon.
"He's the kind of Marine people should look up to. I hope I can be that Marine one-day, but I don't want people thinking I'm riding his coattail. I won't tell people right away who my dad is. I want to be treated just like everybody else," Parker III clarified. "He is the epitome of a Marine. People often tell me how good of a man my father is. It just makes me so proud. Maybe one day my son will be like that's my dad - Master Guns Parker."
Parker III will complete CAX-9 sometime in mid-August. He will stay for CAX-10 and later return with 2nd Marines to its home base, Camp Lejeune, N.C.