Parker 1 of 2 living WWII Company M survivors


Lana Mason

Stone County Leader

“All I get done is watching TV,” Elmer Parker said with a laugh when discussing what he does throughout the day. 

The Emerson native who now lives in Mountain View, Ark., turned 100 years old on Aug. 11. 

Parker lived on a farm for several years, meeting his wife-to-be, Faye, in 1936 at a baseball game. 

They married in 1940, just months before he was sent overseas to serve in World War II. Not wanting to be drafted, Parker joined the Iowa National Guard, Company M, 168th Infantry, 3rd Battalion, 34th Division in Red Oak during the summer of 1940. His unit was federalized on Feb. 10, 1941, landing in Camp Claiborne, La. For basic training. Company M, along with the 34th division, took part in the largest maneuvers ever held with more than 1 million soldiers. 

Campaigns he participated in were Algeria-French Moroccan, Tunisian, Naples-Foggia, Anzio Beach, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and P.O. Valley. 

His awards from his service include the Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Ribbon, European-Africa-Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon with one silver and one bronze battle star, Bronze Service Arrowhead, six Overseas Service Stars, and one Service Stripe.

Parker was a Corporal, toxic gas handler, .30 caliber heavy 2nd machine gunner, and driver for the chaplain. The 34th Division had over 600 days of combat, more than any other unit in the entire European campaign of WWII. 

After his discharge in 1945, he moved to be with wife Faye in southern California, where she had been staying with her sister during his time overseas. Parker worked for the U.S. Postal Service while living in California, and retired in 1979. In 1997, he and his wife moved to their current residence in Mountain View. 

Parker and his wife were married 74 years before she passed away in 2014. They had two daughters and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Speaking on his longevity, Parker isn’t sure of the secret, but did have this to say. 

“I drink a highball every evening, I take vitamins, and I eat sardines every day for lunch.”


This story was reprinted with permission of the 

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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