Helen Murphy © 2009-2019 All Rights Reserved
After a year of clandestine intel and para-military training, he was posted to Laos working as a "CAS" Controlled American Source under the discretion of the U.S. Ambassador to Laos. After the Lao cease fire, he was transferred to the delta of Vietnam to work as a spy and to liaise with South Vietnam Army commanders there. He was the last man out of Vietnam, leaving two days after the American embassy was evacuated. After para-military chores in Laos/Vietnam, Mule went on to serve undercover as a spy handler in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, retiring in 1992.
In the military he received the Bronze Star with "V" and the Purple Heart. In the CIA, he received two Certificates of Outstanding Service, a Certificate of Distinction and the Intelligence Medal.
He went back to work for the CIA after 9/11, but has re-retired. As he says, "He's been places and done things."
Maybe it all began when he was 15 years old and ran away to Havana Cuba, but that's another story! Speaking of which, having inherited his family's story telling talents, Mule has written several books about his extraordinary experiences, the latest is, "The Vietnam War, It's Ownself." He also has a blog, click here to read. [Unfortunately, after Jim passed away, his family took down his blog and the story his cousin wrote].
Recruited by the CIA in 1970 Jim Parker - codename "Mule" led a band of Hmong tribesmen and Thai mercenaries against mainline North Vietnamese forces on the Plain of Jars and in defense of Skyline Ridge.
Serving initially as a 22 year old 2nd Lt infantry platoon leader with the 1st Division from Fort Riley, his battalion was the first to encounter the Cu Chi tunnels and months later led the 1st Division in the successful Minh Thanh counter-ambush. Wounded and honored for bravery, Parker returned to what appeared to be an ungrateful nation, married, and returned to UNC/Chapel Hill. He was recruited as a CIA para-military operative in August 1970.
Tony Poe (left) Vang Pao (center) and Mule (right)
James "Mule" E. Parker Jr. and Father Luke Bouchard