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A solider offers a salute to Army Sgt. David B. Parson. A memorial service for Parson, shot and killed in Iraq on July 6, was held Wednesday morning at the chapel on Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany.
A solider offers a salute to Army Sgt. David B. Parson. A memorial service for Parson, shot and killed in Iraq on July 6, was held Wednesday morning at the chapel on Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany. (Kevin Dougherty / S&S)
A solider offers a salute to Army Sgt. David B. Parson. A memorial service for Parson, shot and killed in Iraq on July 6, was held Wednesday morning at the chapel on Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany.
A solider offers a salute to Army Sgt. David B. Parson. A memorial service for Parson, shot and killed in Iraq on July 6, was held Wednesday morning at the chapel on Ray Barracks in Friedberg, Germany. (Kevin Dougherty / S&S)
Capt. William Fitzhugh, one of Sgt. David B. Parson’s former commanders, pays a silent tribute to the 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment soldier Wednesday in Friedberg, Germany.
Capt. William Fitzhugh, one of Sgt. David B. Parson’s former commanders, pays a silent tribute to the 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment soldier Wednesday in Friedberg, Germany. (Kevin Dougherty / S&S)

FRIEDBERG, Germany — David and Mary Parson would have marked their sixth wedding anniversary Thursday, albeit apart.

But instead of celebrating, Mary Parson is mourning her husband, a 1st Armored Division soldier who died in combat this month in Baghdad, Iraq. David Bryan Parson of the 1st Battalion, 37 Armored Regiment, was 30.

“David will not be coming home,” Lt. Col. Garry Bishop, the battalion commander, wrote in a letter read by Capt. Noel Gorospe, “but he will live forever.”

Parson died the evening of July 6 when two men in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of northern Baghdad ambushed his squad. There are conflicting details about what happened.

One account had Parson and his squad coming under fire during a house raid. Another report spoke of a chase during which Parson, the squad leader, was shot and killed. Soldiers reportedly killed one of the gunmen and wounded the other.

One of the soldiers in Parson’s scout platoon attended the memorial service Wednesday in Friedberg. Sgt. Josh Lemieux had returned to Germany the day before for medical reasons unrelated to the incident.

Parson “was always, always helpful,” Lemieux said as he stood outside the chapel on Ray Barracks. “He was always there.”

A native of Kannapolis, N.C., Parson joined the military in 1995 — as a Marine. When his father died a few years later, Parson left the military to help his mother and sister. He later returned to active duty, joining the Army as a generator mechanic before becoming a scout.

“It’s a terrible thing to die alone on the other side of the world,” Chaplain (Maj.) Marshall Peterson said during the service, “but David wasn’t alone. … He led from the front and he paid the price, but he wasn’t alone.”

God, Peterson said, was with Parson the whole time.

Speaking directly to Mary Parson, who was seated in the front row, the chaplain said: “You are heaven’s VIP today.”

Peterson spoke with levity, too. Parson, he said, was a man of many interests, from comic books and motorcycles to Tex-Mex food and a commitment to learn Arabic.

A funeral service is planned at Fort Bragg, N.C. Parson is survived by his wife and three children: a daughter, Majalya, and sons Fischer and Wilson.

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