Marietta Armory, Marietta, GA, August 15, 2015, By SGT Lisa Kennedy – A highly-experienced and respected member of the Georgia State Defense Force community brought a 10-year career in the GSDF to an end recently during a retirement ceremony at the Marietta Armory. Command Sergeant Major Richard D. Parmenter, has been described as a capable leader, an innovator and a good friend by those who have served with him.
Like most people, Parmenter learned about the GSDF through Clark Howard. His first thought was “they should have an NCO Academy to train NCO’s… as I was a Course Manager and Master Instructor by trade in the USAR.” He had some courses and thought that maybe he could assist in training NCOs. “NCO… something that was near and dear to my heart, which was why I became a Master Instructor and started training NCOs, my tours in RVN and flying as a Medic in helicopters, that part of me came to an end when I realize that an NCO was the backbone of the Army and the most important ingredient in the mix to get the job done. NCOs handled training and execution as well as handled enlisted matters.”
Parmenter entered the GSDF and in a period of about a year ended up as Commandant of the NCO Academy. He says that he was excited and humbled. “I was very fortunate to pick up a couple of NCOs that had the same goal in mind as me… To train NCOs to be the best and to be proud to be an NCO.” It was during this period of about five years that he “had the pleasure of training some of the finest NCOs I have ever trained, they were eager to learn and because of that, they were awesome, fun to train and as much of learning experience for me as it was for them.” Parmenter adds that he biggest thing he learned was how to work with volunteers, an experience that he says is much different than working with RA and USAR soldiers. “The NCO Academy was experience I will never forget.”
When Parmenter found out that the CSM of 1st Brigade had resigned, he thought it was time to put his teaching to work and called COL Rusty Hightower to request an interview for the job. “After the interview, we agreed on this position for me. It was now time for me to learn what a BDE CSM does in this capacity and believe me I started quickly and the good COL was patient.” His regret was not having more time to spend with him. But he states that he is a quick learner and he learned enough before the Change of Command occurred. “The next three and half years with the 1st BDE and COL Brad Bryant were the most rewarding of my entire military career. The missions that I attended with the soldiers that I saw doing their duty, the sacrifice from their families and their jobs to do these missions was no less than above the call of duty. The soldiers, NCOs and officers were the finest and best I have served, no doubt.”
Command Sergeant Major Parmenter retired from the USAR in 2001 after 23 years of service. His duties within the GSDF were extensions of his prior training and experiences. He says that his time and service with the GSDF has been an experience he will never forget, “the respect and service that each did is nothing short of the best and the greatest. I thank you for the opportunity to serve.”