JAMES W. PARMELEE, 1LT, USAF

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

James Parmelee '51

Date of birth: July 13, 1924

Date of death: August 26, 1954

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1951 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From The Family Parmelee:

Fresh out of high school, Lt. James W. Parmelee deferred college to serve his country in World War II. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951, he became an Air Force pilot who conducted reconnaissance flights during the Cold War. A biographical clipping from an unknown publication [ed: the Lucky Bag above] describes James as "at ease in any situation ... friends with the world ... endless self-confidence and ability ... would like to fly a brilliant-red jet plane, and trout fish in off hours ... insists Michigan is the playground of the gods." James was based at Sembach Air Base, about 80 miles southwest of Frankfurt, Germany, and flew one of two "jet photo" squadrons. On a flight in 1954, his plane crashed in Obora (German: Thiergarten), near what was then the border of East Germany and Czechoslovakia. His family knows little about the mission; his military record states death from an "aircraft accident." In January, brother David Parmelee established a scholarship in James' honor to support engineering students at the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Register of Officers of the US Air Force for 1955 gives his date of death as August 26, 1954 "in Germany."

Register of Alumni gives an incorrect date of death with no other details.


Class of 1951

James is one of 48 members of the Class of 1951 in Memorial Hall.