Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
SERGEANT EVAN S. PARKER
Born May 1, 1980
KIA October 26, 2005
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
Evan was my second son. From the very first moments it was clear to see that this child was going to be strong willed, fighting to be number one and always into everything, the boy never stopped. His blonde dandelion hair, sky blues eyes and freckles that covered his whole body, were his trade marks that he carried with him. He hated his freckles and I always told him that they were Gods kiss marks and his reply was, “Can we tell God to quit kissing me”.
Evan loved his family. He was very close to his older brother of 2 years. They fought all of the time and were completive on the sport fields but oh, how they loved each other and stood up for one another. When Evan was 10, along came his younger brother and now he was not the baby any longer but the older brother. He was a great big brother and he loved this. Now let me tell you how much Evan loved his grandpa. He was his miniature shadow. To Evan, grandpa was his Knight in Shining Armor. Grandpa never missed a ball game until Evan’s senior year when grandpa died in August before opening football season. Evan would not come out of the locker room, grandpa was not there. Grandma had to go into the locker room to get him. He needed to play the game/season for grandpa, because he was still watching. Again, I will emphasize, family was everything to Evan.
He was an all American sports nut. Playing every sport that he could and he was good at it all. He practiced all of the time, as I said, sure to be number one. He never quit. The coaches stated many times that they just had to just remove him from the game because he would not stop.
Evan joined the Army in May 1999, one year after his High School graduation. He had a child on the way and wanted the best way to take care of his family and he felt the military with its pay and insurance was a good field. His permanent duty station was in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was there for the next 3.5 years and a second son arrived. He was released from military in December 2003, stayed Army Reserve. He soon went through a divorce. He was working a job in the downtown KC area when he received his letter to report back to active duty in October 2004. He did not hesitate. He left his job and reported back to duty within 2 weeks. He was shipped to Iraq in December 2004. Evan came home for 17 days in July 2005. He was different. Not my go getter son that was always into everything and talking non stop about everything. He was quiet, reserved, laid back; I guess you could say, tired. I did not say anything concerning Iraq, we just enjoyed him. When it was time for him to return to Iraq, he came into the kitchen and asked me not to go to the air port to see him off, he said, “Mom, I will not get on the airplane if you are there and I need to go back, my men need me”. With a hug and a kiss, I let him go. I should have held on longer. But let me say, there was never a moment I felt/believed Evan would not return from Iraq.
The week before Evan was killed he called everyday. Actually, he called everyone in the family every day. This was very unusual. We did not put 2 and 2 together. It was Saturday morning 10:00 a.m. and he called. He said, Hey! Mom, I said Evan you’re calling again; He said I just wanted to tell you that I love you. I said Evan I love you too, is there something wrong? He said, we are going out on night patrol and I will be off for the next 3 days and I will call and talk more later but I wanted to tell you that I love you before I went out. Those words will forever stay in my heart, I still hear them every day.
The next morning, I received a call that SGT. Evan S. Parker had been critically wounded by a road side ambush and an IED attack. A piece of shrapnel had entered his head on the right side and traveled all the way across his brain. They did not expect him to make it. As they spoke to me, they said they had rushed him into surgery in Balad and if he made it through surgery they would be life watching him to Landstuhl Germany Army Hospital. They would expect for us to come to Germany. Eight hours later, they called and Evan made it through surgery and was on his way to Germany, we were preparing to leave for Germany also knowing we would have to remove Evan from life support when we arrived. We arrived 48 hours after his injury and were given 24 hours to be with him and that was pushing it, because he was failing fast. I know in my heart my son waited for me to get there. I kissed his freckled face, roughed his blonde hair and removed him from the ventilator. I promised him: 1. He would never be forgotten 2. He would always be remembered and 3. His name would always be spoken. And he was gone. We all few home together 6 days later on a commercial flight.
Evan was my son that made me work every day for the word MOTHER, but I enjoyed every minute and now would not trade that for anything.
He is survived by his parents, brothers, children, grandmother, aunts/uncles, cousins and numerous friends and military brothers. Evan is truly missed.
Evan with his ride. Iraq 2005. Taken shortly before he was killed.
Sgt. Evan S. Parker Memorial Pavilion at Ft. Shafter Flats Honolulu Hawaii. Dedicated August 2008. GO FOR BROKE
Sgt. Evan Parker Memorial Pavilion on Ft. Shafter Flats 9th Mission Officier Support Squadron Honolulu Hawaii
I first met Evan when we were in Iraq. I spent a lot of time with the fisters. They were my fmaily away from home. Evan was always teasing me and he reminded me of my brother. To me Evan was family. I remember the day Evan was injured. I was watching Conair with Vai. When someone came looking for Vai saying that the guys got hit and they were brining the guys in. We jumped into the vehicle and headed to the CASH. Once there we waited and all i can say is that what I saw was distraught in the eyes of all the guys. After waiting a while we were allowed to go in and see the guys injured. We went to visit Evan and Valle. The nurse just finished getting Evan situated when we walked in. We all talked to Evan and said prayers. This was the last time I saw Evan. It was hard for me to stay and watch the guys and Evan. I said my goodbyes and I walked back to my room. I stayed in my room the whole next day waiting to know that Evan made it on the plane. Vai came back later and let me know Evan was on his way to Germany. A week later we were told that Evan did not make it. When I got back home from the deployment I decided to be a nurse. I remember the nurse and how he cared for Evan and Valle. That nurse had lost his compassion. And this was my driving force of being a nurse. So I started taking my prerequisites for Nursing. In 2011 I was accepted into the nursing program and I pushed hard through my classes and knew that I was doing this for Evan. I was so fortunate to meet Evans mom when I was in Nursing school and shake her hand. It was an honor to meet the woman that raised a hero. I am now a nurse and everyday I take care of my patients I remember Evan I want to alway have compassion even in the most horrible situations for the patient’s, their families and their friends. I hope that I can honor Evan in how I take care of my patients and I know he is looking down on me. Evan I do this for you! You mean the world to me and you had no clue how important you would be to my family and I. Thank you brother! I wish you were here but you are soaring high and watching over all of us!
Sgt. Evan S. Parker 2018 Memorial Day Tribute
Mother Anita Dixon, brother Caleb with Sgt. Evan S. Parkers Commanders at Dedication of Sgt. Evan S. Parker Pavilion Ft. Shafter Flats Hawaii
Picture taken of Evan inside his ride. Iraq 2005
Evan S. Parker high school Senior picture. Taken October 1997, graduation May 1998. Over 60 pictures taken and this is the one that we all chose. Evan draped on top of a American Flag. Little did we know 8 years later he would be coming home with the American Flag draped over him.
Sgt. Evan S. Parker, brother Lance on the (R) and brother Caleb on the (L). Ft. Leonard Wood Mo., Basic Training Graduation US. Army. July 1999.
Sgt. Evan S. Parker with his group:
1st Battalion 487th Field Artillery Fire Support Specialist 29th Combat Team. Attached to the 100-442 Infantry Battalion Honolulu Hawaii
Sgt. Evan S. Parker promotion to Sergeant at LSA Anaconda Iraq July 2005
Jefferson County mother shares veteran son's story after his death in Iraq
JEFFERSON COUNTY (KMOV.com) -- Every veteran's story is important and unique, but some of them don't get to come home and share it.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than 4,400 U.S. Military members died during Operation Iraqi Freedom between March 2003 and August 2010. Now, the mother of one of those soldiers is sharing his story from her home in Pevely, Missouri.
"Evan was my middle boy," said Anita Dixon.
Dixon is a proud mother of three boys but a chair in her dining room is reserved for the one in the middle - Evan Parker.
"Always head strong. He was this strong and buff little boy that always got into anything and everything. He never quit," said Dixon.
In the late 90s, Parker was a student at a junior college when he called home late one night with a big announcement.
"He goes, 'I joined the military.' and I said, 'What?' and he said, ‘Yep, joined the Army. I leave in the Spring,'" said Dixon.
In May 1999, Parker came to Fort Leonard Wood for basic training.
"He got out of the car and threw that green backpack over his shoulder and it hit me that there left a boy, walking in to be a man," said Dixon.
Sgt. Parker became a fire support specialist and was stationed in Hawaii.
"It was very quiet. He was over there doing his thing," said Dixon. "And then 9/11 hit."
Dixon told News 4 she was with co-workers with their eyes glued to the TV that September morning.
"While we were watching and we're just like, my heart just sunk. And then they started talking about now we are going to war," said Dixon.
But, it wasn't until 2004, when Sgt. Parker was in the reserves, that his unit got the papers his mom feared.
"He says, 'I'm being re-activated, I'm being deployed. I'm going to Iraq,’" said Dixon.
In January 2005, his boots were on the ground.
"He said, 'This is what I signed up for. I'm willing and ready to go.' And he was," said Dixon.
By the time Parker came home for a quick visit that summer, Dixon said her son was different. The war was taking its toll.
"Here he came, off the airplane, carrying his backpack, still in his desert uniform. I looked at him and he was just weary. He was just heavy," said Dixon.
She remembers he dropped his gear in the laundry room as soon as he walked in the door at their home.
"His boots were full of sand and his clothes shook out and there was sand," said Dixon.
She said her son didn't want to talk about what he saw, what they did. He didn't want to watch the news. He just wanted to escape it for a couple of days.
A few months later, toward the end of October 2005, once he was back in Iraq, Sgt. Dixon suddenly seemed to want to talk to everyone back home. He was calling his brothers, his grandma, and his mom, every single day.
"I said, 'Evan, you have called every day this week, is everything okay?' He said, 'Yeah, everything is fine. I just want you to know I love you,'" remembers Dixon.
But, the very next day, she got a very different phone call from Virginia.
"He said, 'I'm calling to inform you that there was an attack last night on your son's unit and he took a shrapnel piece from an IED,' and he said, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry to inform you but it does not look good,'" said Dixon.
Dixon shared this story with KMOV 14 years to the day that she got that call.
"He said, 'There's no brain activity,'" said Dixon.
Parker was flown to Germany and placed on life support. His immediate family joined him as fast as they could. Now by his side, Dixon needed her son to know how deep her love is.
"I said, 'Evan, this is mom. I'm here. I made it. I love you,'" said Dixon. "I told him, 'You will always be remembered. You will never be forgotten. And your name will constantly be spoken.'"
Three days after the IED blast, Sgt. Evan S. Parker died at the age of 25. He is survived by two sons.
Since then, Dixon says his fellow soldiers have reached out to her, sharing a different side of her son.
"They talked of his calmness, of his joy. They talked of how he wore his heart on the outside of his chest," said Dixon.
Now, surrounded by his pictures, medals, and clothes, including a boot that still has sand from Iraq on the heel, Dixon said she is fulfilling her promise to keep telling his story.
"His legacy is, I'd do it all over again. I'm a soldier," said Dixon.