VADM Stanley Vincent Parker, who pioneered in U.S. Coast Guard aviation, was born on October 26, 1885, at Cincinnati, Ohio, where he received his early education and graduated from the Technical School of Cincinnati in 1904. He was the son of Samuel Boardman and Elizabeth Helen Chappell Parker.
Appointed a Cadet in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service (forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard) on May 26, 1904, he was graduated number two in his class with a commission as Third Lieutenant (Ensign) on October 27, 1906.
He served his first assignment on board the Cutter Gresham out of Boston, Mass. In May 1908, he was assigned as Commanding Officer of the Cutter Patrol and as Supervisor of Anchorages at Chicago, Ill. In December of that year he was assigned as Instructor on board the Cutter Itasca at Baltimore, Md., which served as the School of Instruction, the early Coast Guard Academy. As instructor he specialized in ordnance and gunnery, drill regulations and military law.
From October 1911 to April 1913, he served on board the Cutter Windom in the Gulf of Mexico out of Galveston, Texas. From 1913 to 1916 he served as navigator in the Cutter Thetis on one court cruise to Alaska, and then in the Hawaiian Islands. After a brief stint aboard the Cutter Golden Gate at San Francisco during the summer of 1916, he served on board the Cutter Apache out of Baltimore, Md., until February 1917 as the United States was entering World War I.
At that time he was one of the first group of Coast Guard officers and men selected for aviation training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. In addition to being a flight student while there, he also fulfilled the duties of senior officer present in charge of that group which eventually became the nucleus of the Coast Guard flight personnel. In July 1917, he qualified as Naval Aviator (Seaplane) No. 57, and later was designated Coast Guard Aviator No. 7. Detached from Pensacola in December 1917, he was given command of the Naval Air Station at Key West, Fla., which he placed into commission. Under his command there coastal patrol flights were carried out and 500 young men qualified as aviators.
From August 1918 to May 1919, he commanded the Naval Air Station at Rockaway, N.Y., the principal naval air station guarding the approaches to New York Harbor. He then returned to Pensacola Air Station to command the Receiving Ship for recruits and as instructor in charge of the air station's Ground School.
In October 1919, after the Coast Guard was transferred from under the Navy's war time operational control back to the Treasury Department, he was stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., as Aide for Aviation. In that post he obtained planes, personnel and use of facilities sufficient to establish the first Coast Guard Air Station, at Morehead City, N.C., which opened on March 24, 1920.
In March 1921, with funds for aviation being exhausted and none in sight in the forthcoming appropriations, LT Parker was assigned as Executive Officer of the Cutter Bear on Alaskan Patrol. During that tour of duty he made three Arctic cruises, the first as far as the Canadian-Alaskan Arctic boundary at Demarcation Point, about three hundred miles east of Point Barrow, the last two to Point Barrow only.
In December 1923, he was assigned as Executive Officer of the Cutter Yamacraw at Savannah, Ga., for a few months and then to duty at the Navy Yard at Philadelphia, Pa., in connection with reconditioning Navy destroyers for the Coast Guard's all-out campaign against the smuggling rum fleet off the Atlantic coast. While awaiting assignment to command one of the destroyers, he also acted as recruiting officer at Philadelphia. In August 1924, he assumed command of the destroyer McDougal which operated out of New York against the rum runners.
In late 1926, he assumed command of the Cutter Ossippee which operated out of Portland, Me. By March 1927, he was in command of Section Base Five at East Boston, Mass. Beginning in January 1929, he served briefly as Inspector of Hull Construction at Quincy, Mass., and then commanded the new Cutter Champlain out of New York for a brief period. From September 1929 to February 1931, he commanded the Cutter Tampa out of Boston, and then commanded the Cutter Mojave out of that same port on the 1931 International Ice Patrol on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.
In January 1932, he assumed command of the Cutter Northland, based at Oakland, Cal., and served with her on the Bering Sea Patrol, and in the Alaskan Arctic. During that tour of duty, he delivered medical and dental aid to the Alaskan natives, investigated the conditions in that region, served as U.S. Commissioner (justice of the peace) for the Second Division, Territory of Alaska, and made surveys of the little known water areas, and trained officers in Arctic navigation.
After being admitted to the California Bar by examination (early 1934), he reported at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., for duty as Chief Intelligence Officer. In June 1934, the Intelligence Office under his direction detected and reported a substantial alcohol smuggling traffic on the Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Gulf coasts, this being six months after repeal of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. Under the energetic leadership of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, and the immediate director of Harold Graves, a five-point program of attack upon that traffic was devised and after two years of effort it was completely suppressed.
(One of the five points of attack was the coordination of the Treasury law enforcement agencies (Alcohol Tax Unit, Coast Guard, Customs, Customs Agency Service, Internal Revenue, Intelligence Unit of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Narcotics) into a single team for action against the smugglers. From this grew the coordination structure from direction of which Elmer Irey, distinguished Treasury law-enforcement coordinator, eventually retired after remarkable service in the Post Office Inspection Service, the Intelligence Unit of Internal Revenue - which he organized - and the Treasury Coordinated Agencies.)
While at Coast Guard Headquarters the then Commander Parker also represented the Coast Guard on the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.
In late 1936, he was assigned to the special task of suppression of narcotics smuggling in the Hawaiian Islands and for this purpose was given broad powers with relation to Treasury agencies in the Islands. The prior excellent investigative efforts of Customs Agency personnel specially assigned, the organization of a Coast Guard section at Honolulu, and the inauguration of special techniques by Customs, Narcotics and Coast Guard working as a team combined to force the price of narcotics upward. In the case of smoking opium, the principal narcotic involved, the price rose for $50.00 or less a five-tael (six-ounce) tin to $250.00 and later $400.00, this rise in price being regarded as an approximate inverse indication of supply available.
After returning to the States in April 1937, he was assigned as Commander, San Francisco Division, which then comprised the State of California and the Territory of Hawaii. While in that post, he also served as Captain-of-the-Port of San Francisco, as Commander of the Bering Sea Patrol Force for part of one season, and part of the time as Coordinator at San Francisco of the Treasury Law Enforcement Agencies. Just prior to World War II, he became Commander, San Francisco District, which then consisted essentially of the State of California. As the war began, he became Senior or District Coast Guard Officer, 12th Naval District, and organized the office and his force for their wartime role.
In February 1942, CAPT Parker was detached from the 12th District and assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters where he was promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned as Coordinator of Port Security for the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. This assignment followed the President's promulgation of executive Order No. 9074 and its execution by naval directive placing in the Commandant of the Coast Guard the responsibility for the security of vessels and waterfront property in the harbors of the United States.
In June 1942, and for the remainder of the war period, he served as District Coast Guard Officer, Third Naval District, New York, as well as Captain of the Port of New York. Through his efforts an organization of vessels and personnel was rapidly built up at the Port of New York which achieved a striking record of safety when that port was the major outlet for allied supply in the military and naval effort of World War II. For that service he received the Legion of Merit Medal.
In the fall of 1945, with the termination of hostilities, RADM Parker was assigned as Pacific Coast Coordinator and Commander, Western Area, Coast Guard, with offices in San Francisco. He retired from that post on November 1, 1947, with 41 years of service, with the rank of Vice Admiral.
During his service career he was instrumental in furthering the study of law in the Coast Guard. He authored The Coast Guard Manual; Some Notes on Coast Guard Law Enforcement; and Powers and Duties of Coast Guard Officers as United States Commissioners in Alaska. Fro the latter work and for his informal surveys of little known water areas of Alaska he was commended by the Commandant of the Coast Guard.
In addition to the Legion of Merit for World War II service, he received the Victory Medal with aviation clasp and one star for his naval aviation service during World War I.
Following is a resume of his promotions in rank: Cadet, May 26, 1904; Ensign, October 27, 1906; Lieutenant (jg), August 23, 1907; Lieutenant, December 1, 1916; Lieut. commander, January 12, 1923; Commander, July 1, 1926; Captain, May 1, 1937; Rear Admiral, March 10, 1942; rank of Vice Admiral on the retirement list.
VADM Parker died at the age of 82 at his home on Monday, July 15, 1968. He was survived by his wife, the former Doris D. of San Francisco, and two sons, Robert D. Parker and retired Navy Commander Stanley D. Parker, and a grandson Stanley Jr.
Memorial services were held for VADM Parker at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 17, at Oakland, Cal., after which the body was flown to Cincinnati, Ohio, for burial in a family plot in Spring Grove Cemetery.