Right at Home Sacramento-Davis owner, Dan Parker is a Navy Veteran who is passionate about caring for veterans. This is Dan's Story of service, commitment, and self sacrifice.
I enlisted and served in the United States Navy from October of 1977 to October of 1981. I entered boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, Ill. After graduating I was transferred to Memphis Naval Aviation Training Center in Millington, Tenn. for “A” school as an “Antisubmarine Warfare Operator” where I graduated second in my class.
We were known as “AW’s for short and our job was to be a member of an aircrew on different aircraft platforms and to perform antisubmarine warfare, if necessary, against the Soviet Union’s ballistic missile submarine force. At this point during the Cold War it was the intent of the United States Navy to track every single Soviet Sub any time it left port. It was my job to actually track the sub from the aircraft using sonobuoys we dropped into the ocean.
After completing “A” school we chose our orders based on class ranking, so I chose the “Antisubmarine Warfare Operations Center at Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine. I spent one year in Brunswick, Maine and it was one of the coldest of my life.
I decided at that point that I would always try to get warm weather duty stations, so for my next set of orders I was sent to sunny California to join VP-46 at Naval Air Station Moffet Field in Mountain View, Calif. I also attended Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school in San Diego where I was taught to survive in different terrains as well as a two-day stint in a mock POW camp where Navy SEALS played the part of the prison guards (being water boarded was part of the training). These were the two longest days of my life. I survived SERE school and prepared to join my squadron in Mountain View when I was told that they had just deployed to Keflavik, Iceland for 9 months! This brought about the longest airplane ride of my life. I had to fly from San Diego to Iceland on an Air Force C-140 cargo plane.
Dan Parker is in the back row, 4th from right.
Being stationed in Keflavik did give me the opportunity to visit a number of places in Europe like Amsterdam, Rota, Spain, and Lajes in the Azores Islands, a possession of Portugal. The weather in Keflavik is pretty much how you would expect, but it never seemed as cold as that first Maine winter. After we returned from deployment I was told that we would be doing several “mini-dets.” This was Navy slang for Mini-Detachments to where else but, Adak, Ala. It’s an island in the Aleutian chain of in the north Pacific. We managed to do these mini-dets in the summertime or at least in what Alaskans call “summertime.”
At this point in my military career I had risen to the rank of 2nd class petty officer and it was time to decide whether I would stay in the Navy or move on as my four year enlistment was almost up. Considering that I was married by this time and I wasn’t sure how that would fare with me being gone nearly 9 months per year, I opted to begin my civilian career.
I believe that most people serving in the military learn what it means to be prepared and to have a certain level of personal discipline. I was pretty independent as a young person and never had a problem with being away from home. Home was pretty much where ever I hung my hat, but I know the Navy helped form who I am today and I appreciate all of the experiences that I had while serving my country.
Right at Home Cares for Veterans
Right at Home of Sacramento-Davis is only a half mile from where McClellan Air Force Base used to be before it was closed and Sacramento is home to many veterans. A fairly high percentage of our clients are veterans and I have had the pleasure of meeting and providing care for many of them.
As a student of WWII I have had the privilege of talking with men who landed in North Africa with Patton, fought up through Italy, and then went on to fight in Europe. Two years ago I was giving a presentation on home care at a local church when I was introduced to a veteran who had served in the PT Squadrons at the same time as John F. Kennedy. As a matter of fact, he was wounded looking for the crew of PT-109 after it had been sunk by the Japanese and he ended up sharing a tent while recuperating with the future President. Coming from a family steeped in military tradition I found the company of these men very pleasant. I truly love to hear their stories and I think they enjoy my questions, at least most of the time.
Right at Home of Sacramento-Davis has been in business for several years and we have had the good fortune to employ a number of veterans. I know when I see that military history on an application that there is a good likelihood that they will perform for us at a high level. My experience employing veterans over the years has done nothing to change my thinking on that.
I believe there are many things that occur which effect the trajectory of life. The fact that I was in the Navy and studied electronics and troubleshooting defined the type of job I was looking for when I left the service. I just happened to be stationed in Silicon Valley at the time and began a career working in the electronics manufacturing field where I was invited to join Sun Microsystems as the 43rd employee. My life just unfolded from there and led to where I am today, a proud owner of a Right at Home franchise in Sacramento, California.