Captain Wayne Arthur Parker was born in Oklahoma City 9 April 1908 and died 2 February 1998. A graduate of Oklahoma City's Central High School, Parker attended Oklahoma City University (OCU) and participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He left OCU for the University of Oklahoma, graduating in 1935 with an Electrical Engineering degree. While in college he worked for OG&E where he later would become President and CEO.
In 1942 Parker joined the US Naval Reserve, was commissioned as an Ensign, and served on the destroyer, USS Ringgold. During the assault on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on 20 November 1943, an enemy shell penetrated to the destroyer's engine room. Parker plugged the hole with his body, preventing flooding until emergency repairs could be made. Then, with complete disregard for his own life, he ordered all personnel to leave the area while he carried the shell topside and threw it overboard. CAPT Parker was awarded The Navy Cross, the second highest award for valor that may be awarded to a member of the USNavy, US Marine Corps, or US Coast Guard.