After 60 years of waiting David Parrish, whose family owns and operates the Clay Ward Agency and Indian Creek Farm, near Paris, Ky., received a Silver Star from the United States government for his distinguished service during World War II. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) presented the award May 26 during a special ceremony on the Bourbon County courthouse steps.
The Silver Star is the third-highest military award designated solely for heroism in combat.
Parish served as a P-47 pilot in the Army Air Force (now Air Force) stationed in the European theater. He and his unit (368th Fighter Group) first escorted bombers from England, participated in D-Day, and then from bases in France and Belgium.
The award is being presented to Parish for his actions on Aug. 8, 1944 near Domfront, France, when, according to reports from the United States military, Parish, supported by only two other fighters, attacked 25 enemy fighters proceeding toward a formation of friendly bombers. Parish launched an attack on the fighters with complete disregard for his personal safety and confident of his ability to head his flight without loss. In the engagement Parish completely dispersed the enemy and personally destroyed two planes.
"We always knew these things about our father, but he wouldn't talk about them," said David Parish's son, Shack. "We knew he was involved in a lot of missions where bravery was involved. This is a very high honor and we are very proud of him."
During the war, Parish twice earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medals with 21 Oak Leaf Clusters and numerous other medals from the English, French, and American governments.