Members and officers from the East Surry Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program, along with their guests, gathered in the First United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center Saturday for an evening of formal fun.
The occasion was the program’s annual Military Ball. According to East Surry JROTC instructor First Sergeant Ron Montgomery, this marked the 32st year for the annual ball in Pilot Mountain.
Cadet Bradley Snow, who attended the evening with his guest, Kaitlin Koons, served as opening speaker for the evening.
“This is a night set aside for us to come together,” he explained beforehand, “and enjoy the company of our fellow cadets. We’re able to fellowship and celebrate the year we’ve had so far. We should have over 100 here tonight. It’s something that cadets look forward to and enjoy.”
After a time of fellowship, cadets passed by a receiving line of distinguished guests and leaders before being seated for the program.
The patriotic evening began with the posting of colors and the Pledge of Allegiance. Cadet Cassie Marquis then led fellow cadets in the Cadet Creed followed by a series of toasts led by Dylan McConky. Mark Calderon then shared a history of the military ball. Cadet Ashlyn Nagel then led the room in invocation before the buffet dinner was served.
Guest speaker for the evening was Command Master Chief (Surface Warfare/Air Warfare/Fleet Marine Force) James G. Parlier. He and his wife, Nelle, made the trip from their home in High Point to attend the ball. The couple has three sons, two daughters and two grandsons. A nephew, Cade Williams, is a freshman at East Surry and a member of the JROTC program. Parlier works as a professional photographer and runs his own business.
CMDMC Parlier enlisted in the United States Navy in April of 1977. On April 28, he reported for basic training at Recruit Training Command, Naval Training Center, Orlando Florida Company 155. In July of 1978 he was assigned for training at Hospital Corps “A” School and reported to his first duty station at Naval Regional Medical Center, Great Lakes, Il in October 1978.
After two years of duty, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Parlier was transferred to Field Medical Service School in Camp Lejeune and promoted to Hospital Corpsman Second Class (HM2) upon completion in September 1980. He served two tours with the Marine Corps, serving with 2nd Marine Division and 2nd FSSG.
Parlier has also served with several shore commands, including Naval Hospital Orlando Florida, Naval Hospital Pensacola Florida, Naval Hospital Patuxent River Maryland and Naval Hospital Sigonella Sicily. He has served in several warfare communities including Aviation Squadrons, Surface Navy Forces from mine sweepers in the Persian Gulf War, Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Ships and Destroyers. He also served with the Navy Seals and Special Warfare Command in operations Provide Promise.
Master Chief Parlier applied for the Command Master Chief Program and accepted immediate orders to the USS Cole (DDG 67) as Command Master Chief of the ship. He was onboard during the terrorist attack on the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000. Parlier received commendations for his actions during the tragic event.
As he neared the end of his career, Parlier accepted a job for a critical billet as Command Master Chief – Naval Station Great Lakes and Navy Region Midwest, serving more than 114,000 personnel until his retirement in November 2006. He now is a professional photographer and runs his own business.
In considering his remarks for the evening, Parlier recalled his own youth.
“I was young,” he noted with a smile, “and I think it was inspirational to hear about core values. I want to give these cadets something they can put in their tool box of life and can apply whether or not they are in the military.”
“I also want to talk about the heroics I witnessed on the USS Cole,” he added. “This threat is a reality we live with today, both within our nation and around the world.”