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Colonel Parkes served from Pentagon to Abu Dhabi

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel John Parkes and Karla Parkes enjoy a ride on the London Eye Ferris Wheel on the River Thames. CONTRIBUTED
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel John Parkes and Karla Parkes enjoy a ride on the London Eye Ferris Wheel on the River Thames. CONTRIBUTED

Veteran of the Week

MADISON – John Parkes, now a retired Colonel, entered the U.S. Air Force in June 1983.

Parkes completed basic training at the U.S. Air Force Academy and undergraduate pilot training at Williams Air Force Base (AFB) in Chandler, Ariz. He served as C-141B copilot, aircraft commander, instructor pilot and examiner pilot at Charleston AFB, S.C.

At Altus AFB, Okla., Parkes worked as C-141B School House Instructor and Examiner Pilot. Then, he was Command Test and Evaluation Director at Scott AFB in Belleville, Ill. His duties at McGuire AFB in Wrightstown, N.J. included Director of Operations and Chief of Command Post.

In overseas deployment, Parkes was Director of Operations at Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Then at Fort Belvoir, Va., he was Military Assistant to Director of Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

On to the Pentagon, he was assigned as Policy Staff Officer to Secretary of Defense, Policy and Mission Integration Branch Chief, Joint Staff (J-8). Parkes also returned to Scott AFB, was Group Commander at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City, Okla. and System Program Director at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.

The Parkes family moved to Madison in June 2011 for “job opportunities, life style and the great school system,” he said.

He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and software engineering and a master’s degree in computer resource management. He works as Senior Program and Business Development Manager at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

His wife Karla is a homemaker. Their daughter Amanda, 27, lives in Seattle, Wash. Kaitlyn, who’s 24, lives in Columbus, Ohio. Their son Matt, 16, is an Eagle Scout and lives in Madison.

In volunteering. Colonel Parkes is an instructor pilot for Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity and Advancement Director for Boy Scout Troop 351. He also participates in USAFA Association of Graduates and with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots’ Association.

When he has free time, Parkes enjoys hiking, camping, bike riding, fishing and flying.

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