RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
One is a combat Ace who logged more than 6,000 hours in fighter aircraft. The other is a Charter Chief who flew in, worked on or inspected more than 30 different airframes.
Both are Randolph Air Force Base living legends who will be immortalized here when the clubs are renamed in their honor Dec. 5.
The officers' club becomes the Parr Club at a ceremony at 11:45 a.m. in honor of retired Col. Ralph Parr. Shortly after, at 12:30 p.m., the enlisted club becomes the Kendrick Club in honor of retired Chief Master Sgt. Guy Kendrick.
Members of the base community are invited to these consolidated ceremonies that pay tribute to two men whose military service each spanned three wars.
"It is our honor to name the Randolph clubs after two Airmen who not only played significant roles in the heritage of Randolph and the 12th Flying Training Wing, but were also instrumental to Air Force history," said Col. Jacqueline Van Ovost, 12th FTW commander. "We're excited they will both be on hand with their families to take part in this deserving honor and recognition of their distinguished careers."
Colonel Parr and Chief Kendrick have been part of the Randolph community for many years.
In Colonel Parr's case, he commanded from 1970-1971 the 12th Flying Training Wing's lineage predecessor, the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing. During his 32-year career, Colonel Parr earned Ace status and totaled nine MiG shoot-downs, including four in a four-day span during the Korean War.
"Colonel Parr is commander emeritus of the 12th Flying Training Wing and has been involved in nearly every significant wing event since he retired in 1976," Colonel Van Ovost said. "He continues to serve his Air Force, and in doing so, provides an example for all of us of about what it truly means to be a 'career Airman.'"
Chief Kendrick's association with Randolph dates back 69 years to Oct. 6, 1939, when he first reported for duty here as an assistant crew chief on the BT-9 aircraft. He completed several other tours of duty at Randolph and was stationed here Dec. 1, 1959, when he was one of 625 senior master sergeants Air Force wide promoted to chief master sergeant when the Air Force created that rank. Known as "Charter Chiefs," Chief Kendrick was one of only five senior NCOs at Randolph to make the first-ever promotion to chief master sergeant. He wore that rank until his retirement in 1965.
"To say that Chief Kendrick traces his military roots back to Randolph is not quite correct," said Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff, 12th FTW command chief master sergeant. "It's more like Randolph traces its roots to Chief Kendrick! He has been an integral part of this base community for nearly seven decades."
According to the Air Force instruction that governs memorializations and naming ceremonies, the Air Force names buildings in people's names to provide lasting honor and pay tribute to deceased and living Air Force military and civilian personnel with records of outstanding and honorable service. This program also fosters favorable relations between the public and the Air Force.
"One interesting thing to note is that both the clubs are being named after living individuals, and that requires approval from the Secretary of the Air Force," said Lane Bourgeois, 12th FTW historian.
Col. Ralph S. Parr
Commissioned in Army Air Forces on Feb. 8, 1944
Piloted P-38 Lightning during last eight weeks of World War II
Flew F-80 Shooting Star and F-86 Sabrejet during Korean War
Became commander of 12th Tactical Fighter Wing in 1970
Combat experience totaled 641 missions and 1,169 flying hours
Logged more than 6,000 flying hours in 32-year career
Earned more than 60 decorations including Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 41 Air Medals
Chief Master Sgt. Guy R. Kendrick Jr.
Enlisted in Army Air Corps on Oct. 4, 1939
First assignment was as BT-9 crew chief at Randolph from 1939-1941
Served in European Theater as B-17 crew chief and inspector during World War II
Transitioned to jet aircraft maintenance in 1949 working on F-84 Thunderjet
Served as line chief of first jet flight to arrive at Randolph in 1952
Promoted among first group in Air Force to senior master sergeant in 1958
Promoted as one of 625 "Charter Chiefs" in 1959 when Air Force created E-9 rank
Flew in, worked on or inspected more than 31 different airframes