CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A former instructor at the U.S. Border Patrol Academy here has become the area's first civilian casualty in Iraq.
Halliburton Corp. employee Daniel Parker, 56, of Summerville died Friday in Iraq after a bomb exploded near his military convoy as he was traveling to Baghdad International Airport, according to information on the Houston-based contractor's Web site.
Parker was the 35th Halliburton employee killed in Iraq, the company said.
He worked for Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which has thousands of people working in Iraq and Kuwait, performing jobs for the government that range from extinguishing oil fires to delivering fuel and food. The good pay - workers can earn up to $120,000 tax-free for a year - has drawn many applicants.
Parker's family and friends said they will remember Parker for the love he had for America and his dedication to serve others.
He served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War and was a second lieutenant and artillery officer. After the war, he went to college and joined the Border Patrol. He came to South Carolina to teach at the Border Patrol Academy in Charleston. He retired in June and got an offer from KBR to work in Iraq.
"He wasn't through giving of himself," said Mario Martinez, assistant chief of the Border Patrol Academy and Parker's supervisor there.
Parker's brother Jaimie said Saturday night that the family worried about Dan Parker every day. "He was proud to do for this country," Jaimie Parker said. "He was doing what he could until the end."
Jaimie Parker thinks his brother was attracted by the challenge of a difficult job, but he wouldn't say what that was and the company did not specify Dan Parker's job.
On a visit home in March, Dan Parker participated in a VFW Poker Run and had just bought a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and upgraded the motor. "He was very, very proud of it. He's got it jacked up in the garage with all kinds of covers on it," Jaimie Parker said.
Dan Parker is survived by his wife and two daughters.
A memorial service likely will be held at the Border Patrol Academy. While final plans are not complete, Jaimie Parker said his brother's body will be cremated and his ashes placed at Arlington National Cemetery, where his father and uncle are buried.
"He was the rock in our family," Jaimie Parker said. "He was always there for us to lean on. That's what makes it so tough right now, is that he's not going to be there anymore."
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