Roger I. Parrish
Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
Roger Parrish was born on February l, 1935 in Carbondale, Illinois. He has been fascinated by flying since he was a child and received his private pilot’s license and commercial pilot’s license just after graduating from high school. He was a member of the Air Force ROTC programs at Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois, during which he received his Flight Instructor’s license. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he entered Air Force flight training in the T-34, T-28 and T-33. He graduated first in his class in 1957 and went on to train in the F-lOO at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.
Between 1959 and 1966 he Hew the F100, F105 and F-4 at Bitburg Air Base in West Germany. In 1966 he was selected to attend the Air Force’s Top Gun school at Nellis Air Force Base. Roger won all 3 trophies available for academics, gunnery skill and a vote for best student by the instructors. In 1969-1970 Roger flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam. While in Vietnam he once led another F-4 crew back to base after the aircraft had been badly damaged and the pilot seriously Wounded. In July 1972 Roger was selected to Íly with the Air Force’s Thunderbirds demonstration team, leading the team in 1973 and 1974. After his retirement from the Air Force in 1983, he was hired by Lear Jet as a demonstration and test pilot. He left the company in 1988 as the Vice President of Operations. In 1989 he was hired as a co-pilot for America West Airlines flying the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. He retired from commercial flying in 1995 and became Director of Training for the airline. He retired from America West in 2003. Roger continues to fly recreationally and owns a Stearman biplane and a replica of a World War I Nieuport 17 fighter.