John Joseph Parle was born 26 May 1920 at Omaha, Neb. and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as Apprentice Seaman at Omaha 11 January 1942. He began Midshipman training at Notre Dame University 5 October and was commissioned Ensign, USNR, on 28 January 1943. Following assignment with the Amphibious Force at Norfolk, Va., he was reassigned to the Northwest African Amphibious Force and attached to LST–375 as officer-in-charge of small boats during the invasion of Sicily, 9–10 July 1943. “For valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty,” as an accidentally ignited smoke pot was about to touch off a boat laden with high-explosive charges and ammunition, which would disclose to the enemy the assault about to be carried out, he unhesitatingly entered the craft, snuffed out some burning fuses, and after failing to extinguish the smoke pot, took it in his bare hands and tossed it over the side, succumbing a week later as a result of poisonous fumes and smoke inhaled, “he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Ensign Parle’s heroic self-sacrifice prevented grave damage to the ship and personnel and insured the security of a vital mission. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.”
(DE–708: dp. 1,810; l. 306’; b. 37’; dr. 13’9”; s. 23.6 k.; cpl. 221; a. 2 5”, 4 40mm., 10 20 mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., I dcp. (hh.); cl. Rudderow)
Parle (DE–708) was laid down 8 January 1944 by Defoe SB Co., Bay City, Mich.; launched 25 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Harry V. Parle, mother of Ens. John Joseph Parle; and commissioned 29 July 1944, Lt. Comdr. James C. Toft, Jr., USNR in command.
After shakedown off Louisiana and Bermuda, Parle was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet for convoy duty, completing one Atlantic-Mediterranean voyage before her permanent assignment to Escort Division 60. She returned to the yards to be fitted out for Pacific duty. On 28 December she sailed for Panama, arriving 3 January 1945. After reporting for duty with the 7th Fleet, she was assigned to the Philippine Sea Frontier and routed to Leyte by way of Galapagos, Bora Bora, Manus and Palau.
As an escort with Task Unit 94.18.12 she carried out numerous operations between Kossol Roads, Leyte, Lingayen, Subic, New Guinea, Okinawa, Ulithi and Hollandia. Although engaging in repeated attack runs on sound contacts, during these escort assignments, she never made positive contact with the enemy.
In August 1945, Parle was with the Amphibious Forces of the Pacific Fleet engaged in escorting occupation troops to Korea. In January 1946 she joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs and decommissioned 10 July.
Parle recommissioned 2 March 1951 at Green Cove Springs, Fla. and following shakedown, operated with the Atlantic Fleet out of Norfolk and Nova Scotia. During the first quarter of 1952 she underwent training at Guantanamo Bay and was then sent to Key West, in March, for duty as a training vessel with the Fleet Sonar School. The latter part of the year found her in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea areas engaged in fleet exercises.
The succeeding years, through 1958, were spent in training in ASW tactics out of Guantanamo, off the Virginia Capes and Norfolk with interim periods for overhaul and readiness evaluations. Parle periodically provided services to the Fleet Sonar School and Type Commanders.
On 1 January 1959, Parle was transferred to the operational control of the Commandant, 5th Naval District and designated as a Naval Reserve Training Ship, Group 1. Her compliment was reduced and she was assigned a mobilization crew of Reservists for training and augmentation. As a training ship for the reservists she conducted year-round schedules of two-week cruises, other than periods for upkeep.
During a heightening of world tensions in August 1961, President Kennedy called for partial mobilization of the Reserves. Parle received her reserve crew 26 October, bringing her to full complement, and she commenced a year of duty with the active fleet. Following additional training to peak the performance of her new crew, Parle assumed patrol duties in the Caribbean.
In July 1962, Parle detached the Reserve crew and reverted to inactive status as a Reserve Training Ship. In August she was placed in service in reserve and retained in a training capacity. She has since continued her training duties, operating from her Great Lakes home port of Chicago, III.
Into 1970 Parle continues a vital service to the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Naval Reserve Training Program.