Ambassador Richard Parker joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps in 1942 and was inducted into the Army at Dodd Field, Texas on 7 June 1943. After basic training in Anti-Aircraft Artillery at Camp Wallace, Texas, and a brief period in ASTP at Kansas State College, he entered Officer Candidate Class 333 at the 3d Student Training Regiment at Fort Benning in January 1944. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry on June 20, 1944 and assigned to the 106th Infantry Division, then at Camp Atterbury, Indian. At Atterbury he was assigned to the 422nd Infantry, and on reaching that regiment was made a Platoon Commander in the Anti-Tank Company. | The division was sent to England in October 1944 and then to Belgium where it replaced the 2d Division in the line along Schnee Eifel east of St. Vith on 10 December. The division was surrounded in the German offensive which began 16 December and Lieutenant Parker and most other officers and men of his regiment were captured on 19 December. He eventually arrived at Oflag 64 in Schubin, Poland, the only camp for American Ground Force Officers maintained by the Wehrmacht. Parker and some 200 other officers managed to evade German control as they were being marched back to Germany after the Russians finally began their January offensive. They were liberated by the Russians shortly thereafter and eventually repatriated via Odess, Pt. Said and Naples. | On return to the United States Parker served as a Training Officer in the IRTC’s at Camp Blanding, Florida, and Camp Hood, Texas. He was then assigned to the Basic Officer Course at Fort Benning, then to the Recon Troop of the Second Division at Fort Lewis, and then to GHQ in Tokyo. He was released from active duty in April 1947 and returned to college to complete his education before joining the Foreign Service in 1949. Following two years at the American Consulate General in Sydney, Australia, he began a series of assignments in, or involving, the Near East and North Africa. These assignments have included Jerusalem, Beirut, Amman, Cairo, and Rabat, plus two years of intensive Arabic language and area studies, and eight years in various positions in the Department of State concerned with the Near East and North Africa. In 1974 he was assigned to Algiers as Chief of the U.S. interests section there, and then became the first Ambassador to Algeria after the resumption of diplomatic relations in November 1974 (relations had been served at the time of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War). | In early 1977 he was sent to Beirut as Ambassador to Lebanon and in 1978, to Rabat as Ambassador to Morocco. | Ambassador Parker speaks Arabic and French. His interests include Islamic architecture (he is the author of two books on the subject) and photography. | Ambassador Parker was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Award on 29 May 1980.