For Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) William ‘Bob’ Parsons, a journey that began fresh out of high school on June 13, 1973, is about to conclude with a remarkable half-century of service to the Australian Army.
WO2 Parsons’ commitment to Defence was recognised on November 19 with a third Federation Star, along with a seventh clasp on his Defence Long Service Medal.
Commander 2nd (Australian) Division Major General David Thomae presented the awards in a ceremony that coincided with the end of Exercise Rhoden Strike.
WO2 Parsons proudly shared his memories with the assembled friends and family members.
“I passed my Centurion drivers’ course, allowing me to drive 52 tons of main battle tank before I was allowed to apply for a civilian learner’s permit to drive my dad’s Morris 1000 on Victorian roads,” he said.
“I think that’s a bit of an achievement.”
The presence of WO2 Parsons’ family at the ceremony – including his wife Kerry, who he thanked for the ‘team effort’, and his son, also WO2 Robert Parsons, who serves in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, underscored the familial ties that have supported his journey.
Currently serving as a training development officer for Melbourne University Regiment at Anglesea Barracks in Hobart, WO2 Parsons continues to impart the lessons he has learned from his extensive career, highlighting the importance of self-discipline, taking care of soldiers, and the crucial role played by junior non-commissioned officers in Army’s chain of command.
Throughout his career, WO2 Parsons has gained many qualifications across armoured vehicles and has completed numerous overseas training stints. When asked for advice from young soldiers, he emphasises the value of persistence.
“Stick with it. You’ll have a lot of opportunities and experiences the Army offers you, as well as the camaraderie you’ll experience along the way,” he said.
To those considering a career in Defence, WO2 Parsons said: “Give it a go … the opportunities provided to you will be lifelong experiences that you’ll be able to look back on”.
Upon retirement, he plans to continue travelling with Kerry, work on his golf handicap and spend more time with family. He also expressed a keen interest in giving back to the Hobart community, seeking local volunteer opportunities where he can continue to make a positive impact.