Only USAF Wing Commander to record an air-to-air kill during Operation Desert Storm passes away

Only USAF Wing Commander to record an air-to-air kill during Operation Desert Storm passes away

By Dario Leone
Jun 4 2021
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F-15 Eagle pilot Col. Rick N. downed an SU-7/17, making him the only wing commander to record an aerial victory in Operation Desert Storm.

On May 25, 2021 former F-15 Eagle pilot Col. Rick N. Parsons passed away in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at his home with his wife of 54 years, Nancy Parsons, at his side, The Gazette reports.

Parsons was born Mar. 7, 1944 in Lyndonville, New York.

He graduated from Lyndonville High School in 1962 and from the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 1966. On September 3, 1967 he married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Custer, in Lyndonville, New York.

Only USAF Wing Commander to record an air-to-air kill during Operation Desert Storm passes away
Feb. 19, 1991 – COL. Rick N. Parsons, commander, 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, checks his survival gear in the cockpit of his F-15C Eagle aircraft prior to deploying to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Shield

After leaving the Air Force Academy, Parsons dedicated 26 years to defending the United States. His service in defending our nation included two tours in Vietnam, one tour in Saudi Arabia with flying over 5,000 hours in the T-38, F-4, F-15, and F-16.

Parsons commanded the 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) Wolfhounds at Soesterberg Air Base (AB) and the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB). On Feb. 7, 1991, Parsons downed an SU-7/17, making him the only wing commander to record an aerial victory in Operation Desert Storm.

After retiring as a Colonel from his decorated career in the Air Force, Parsons began a second career as a Certified Financial Advisor in Monument, Colorado.

Only USAF Wing Commander to record an air-to-air kill during Operation Desert Storm passes away
US Air Force Col. Rick N. Parsons, 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing commander, checks items on a list at Eglin Air Force Base sometime in the 1990s. Parsons downded an SU-7/17, making him the only wing commander to record an aerial victory in Operation Desert Storm.

In celebration of his life’s hard work, after fully retiring Parsons and his wife built a beautiful home in Guffy, Colorado, which they enjoyed for 13 years before returning to Colorado Springs. He enjoyed spending time with his ’66 USAFA classmates, playing softball and pickleball, and watching the Rockies whether they won or lost.

However, he spent most of his weekends with his grandchildren – always an enthusiastic spectator, whether in person or online for sports or theater productions.

Nickel in the Grass.

36th TFW F-15C Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15C Eagle 36th TFW, 22d TFS, BT/79-051 / 1981

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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