Parks, Floyd Bruce, Maj

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 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
7598-Basic Fixed-Wing Pilot
Last MOSGroup
Pilots/Naval Flight Officers
Primary Unit
1942-Present, 7598, Missing In Action
Service Years
1934 - 1942



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This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cpl Steven Ryan (LoneWolf) to remember Marine Maj Floyd Bruce Parks.

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 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1942, World War II Fallen

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Service Number: O-005006
Birth and Early Life:
Floyd Parks was born on January 16, 1911. He was raised in Salisbury, Missouri by his parents James and Bess; his father and older brother James C. Parks worked as electricians. Parks whose red hair and pale complexion earned him the inevitable nickname Red Parks entered the US Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1930, and graduated in 1934 as a second lieutenant.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Lieutenant Parks was accepted into the United States Marine Corps on July 5, 1934. His first post was at the Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; one of his first duties was practical work in infantry weapons at Cape May, New Jersey. Parks was under instruction in Philadelphia until his class graduated in April, 1935 the young lieutenants were sent off for a spell of sea duty, and for Parks, that meant the cruiser USS Astoria.
Service Prior to 1941:
Red Parks served as the second in command of the Astoria's Marine detachment through May, 1936. Having served on land and on sea, he decided to take to the air, applied for flight training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, passed his washout trials, and was accepted as a Naval Aviation Student. The training regimen was intense, designed to weed out those who did not have the necessary stamina, skill, or stomach for flying and in some cases, the students did not survive. Flying was not the only danger at Pensacola one day, one of the privates from the barracks was out swimming and ran into difficulty. He was saved by Parks and another enlisted man; Parks was commended by the commanding officer for quick action, good judgment and swimming ability. Parks showed enough promise to win his wings, a promotion to First Lieutenant, and an assignment to Aircraft Two in San Diego effective July 30, 1937. Lieutenant Parks became a squadron officer with Bombing Squadron Two; he served also as the parachute, gunnery, and ordinance chief during his months there. Shortly after his squadron was re-designated VMB-2, Parks was sent to the group's fighter squadron VMF-2 in July, 1939. The versatile Parks served as assistant navigation and communication officer in addition to flying a Grumman F3F biplane in training exercises and fleet problems. While there, he would have met Henry Elrod, a future Medal of Honor winner who would die in the defense of Wake Island. Parks was rewarded with a promotion to Captain; with his skill set, he was a natural choice to teach new pilots. He returned to Pensacola as an instructor in June, 1940, and served out the rest of the year there.
Wartime Service:
Captain Parks was transferred to the First Marine Aircraft Wing at Quantico in May, 1941; he was there when the war broke out, and would remain on the East Coast until his orders came through in early 1942. In March of that year, Parks returned to San Diego as an officer of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing it was around that time that the picture above was taken. He was given further orders to report to VMF-221, then stationed at Midway, and sailed for the tiny island aboard the USS Sirius. Parks reported for duty, and on April 17 took command of the squadron from their original CO, Vern McCaul, who had been promoted to Executive Officer of Marine Air Group 21. The squadron's F2A-3 Brewster Buffalo fighters were hopelessly outdated by this point in the war, but the Marines gamely kept training along with their dive-bombing counterparts in VMSB-241. They received a few fresh pilots and a few more modern F4F Wildcat fighters, but most knew it would not be enough to stem a determined Japanese assault like the one that had overwhelmed Wake the previous December. On Monday, May 25, 1942, Floyd Parks was promoted to Major.
Date Of Loss:
At 0600 on June 4, 1942, reports of incoming Japanese aircraft had reached a fever pitch, and Midway's airstrip was cleared of aircraft. Major Parks, flying F2A-3 01518 with squadron markings MF-1, was at the head of the squadron's first division, leading 21 Buffalos and three Wildcats at an enemy force that, to the horror of the Marines, numbered over a hundred strong. The Americans put their throttles to the wall and made their first pass with an altitude advantage two Japanese planes went down in flames, and five or six began trailing smoke. The neat formations of aircraft soon devolved into personal, single-plane engagements, and it was here that the weakness of the Brewster Buffalo became apparent. Not a single member of Parks division, save for Lt. Charles Hughes who had suffered from engine trouble, survived the battle. It is possible, though hard to say for sure, that Red Parks met a particularly horrible end. Observers on the ground and in the air saw two American pilots in their parachutes become the targets of Japanese fighter planes. One of these was believed to be Parks; the other was almost certainly Lieutenant Martin Mahannah.Floyd Parks remains were never found. He was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross.
Parks, along with the other aviators of Midway, became national heroes.
Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Margaret Parks of El Paso, Texas.
Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.
Tablets of the Missing, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884) was named in his honor.
Other Comments:
Navy Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Major Floyd Bruce Parks (MCSN: 0-5006), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as Squadron Commander and a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VMF-221), Marine Air Group TWENTY-TWO (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway, during operations of the U.S. Naval and Marine Forces against the invading Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Leading his squadron in a dauntless and aggressive attack against a vastly superior number of Japanese bomber and fighter planes, Major Parks aided in disruption the plans of the enemy and lessening the effectiveness of their attack, thereby contributing materially to the success of our forces. As a result of his courageous and daring tactics and because of the circumstances attendant upon this engagement, there can be little doubt that Major Parks gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. He displayed the characteristics of a fine leader and excellent airman in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: 4-Jun-42
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Pilot Wings
Rifle Sharpshooter (Pre 1959)USMC Basic Qualification Badge

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1935, The Basic School (Quantico, VA)
 Unit Assignments
MATSG-21, NAS Pensacola FLUSMC (United States Marine Corps)VMF-221Missing In Action
  1934-1934, MATSG-21, NAS Pensacola FL/Pre-flight
  1936-1936, USMC (United States Marine Corps)
  1937-1941, VMF-221
  1942-1942, VMF-221
  1942-Present, 7598, Missing In Action
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/American Theater
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
 Colleges Attended
United States Naval Academy
  1930-1934, United States Naval Academy
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