June 27, 1924 (New York, NY) – May 4, 1945; 20 years old
Last local address: 7 Elliot Avenue, East Norwalk
Service number: 8079347
USS MORRISON (DD-560)
Awarded the Purple Heart Medal
From The Norwalk Hour June 29, 1945
Mr. and Mrs. Charles O. Parks of 7 Elliott Avenue have been informed that their son, Robert Richardson Parks, Radio Technician Second Class, USNR, has been missing in action in the Pacific since May 4, when the destroyer USS Morrison on which he served, was sunk. Mr. Parks enlisted in the Navy nearly two years ago, receiving his training at Newport, Rhode Island, Chicago and California. He had been overseas six months. A graduate of Norwalk High School, Class of 1942, he attended Northeastern College in Boston for one year before enlisting.
On the morning of May 4, 1945, off of Oshima, Japan, the USS Morrison was on station with Ingraham and four landing craft. When enemy planes appeared, Morrison, as usual, coached her combat air patrol into position to intercept and, in an hour-long battle, the Corsairs shot down two. Others broke through, however. While Ingraham and LCS 31 were hit, LSM(R)-194 was sunk and LCS-21 was also damaged, four suiciders struck Morrison in quick succession; three more grazed her and two others narrowly missed. There were also bomb explosions.
Ripped apart, Morrison sank in fifteen minutes, before there was time to abandon ship. “Pall bearer” LCS-21 picked up 179 officers and men, 108 of whom were injured. The remaining 152 shipmates, including most of those stationed below decks, were lost, “all the more regretted in view of the gallant fight to the finish,” wrote Capt. Frederick Moosbrugger, commanding the Okinawa destroyers. Admiral Nimitz concurred and Morrison received a second Navy Unit Commendation for this action.
Memorialized at the Courts of the Missing, Court 1, Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii