MICHAEL J PARMERTER - CAPT
- midland park
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- July 30, 1944
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- June 22, 1969
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Michael J. Parmerter was born on July 30, 1944. His home of record is Midland Park, NJ. He had two brothers, Lee and Keith.
Parmerter served in the US Army with the 82nd Airborne Division. He attained the rank of Captain (CPT).
Parmerter died on June 22, 1969, while on his second tour in Vietnam, during a dispute with Vietnamese locals. Parmerter and another officer had gone to some sort of party and were drinking heavily. On their way home a Vietnamese woman was coming towards them saying something in Vietnamese. Parmerter ordered her to stop several times, then he shot her, thinking she might have a grenade. When they checked her, she was unarmed. Parmerter was so full of remorse he went back home and shot himself.
Mike Parmeter was a friend of mine. We served in the 82nd ABN DIV briefly, before going to Vietnam in FEB 68, on the same orders. He was a few years older than I, and when he was disciplined for being chronically late for duty on base, the Battery Commander restricted him to post. In those days, every room was filled with officers and men traveling through Fort Bragg, and there was really no place for him to stay. He moved into the post housing being shared by my wife and I, and became our houseguest until we returned home to Kansas to relocate before I went to Vietnam.
Mike had an uncle in San Francisco, and we left my home in Kansas a couple of days early for a tour of the city, with his uncle. When we arrived in Vietnam we were separated with assignments to different units. As I said he was older, and more educated than I, and after a brief stint as a Forward Observer, Mike ended up as the 173rd Liaison Officer to the Special Forces at Nha Trang. I believe I actually saw him once after our arrival, but I am sure we corresponded a few times. He was dissatisfied with his part in the war. He shot himself with his pistol, and that was all I knew about him after that. Some years later, early 70's, I met another 173rd SSG at a National Guard meeting that claimed to have helped remove his body from his quarters at Nha Trang.
Mike was an intelligent guy, sort of quiet, but affable and friendly. He drove an Austin Healy Sprite roadster automobile, and drank Scotch whiskey, I think it was Pink. He smoked a lot, and was someone who should have had a better outcome for his life.
Written by Tom Coats, Veteran
The following is an excerpt from The Record dated Monday, January 29, 1973:
It was the second tour of duty for Capt. Michael J. Parmerter in Vietnam. "He had a lot of compassion for the people there, and he was appalled by their living conditions, said the father of the Army Captain. Mr. and Mrs. Lee Parmerter had tried to talk to their son out of going back to Vietnam and the war and the danger of death. But the 24-year old told them that he was upset by disturbances on college campuses and that he had to return because of his desire to stop communism and his concern for the Vietnamese people. His death in June 1969 brought to eight the number of Midland Park men killed in the fighting.
Midland Park High School displays a plaque of names to honor the young men from Midland Park who died in Vietnam. The town of Midland Park named Parmerter Walk in his memory.
Sources: Keith Parmerter (brother), Tom Coats (veteran), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.
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