Ernest Parrish was born on December 17, 1962, in Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on June 30, 1980, and completed basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, in September 1980. SSgt Parrish next attended the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, California, from September 1980 to February 1982, followed by service as a radiotelephone operator and voice controller with the 6912th Electronic Security Group at Tempelhof Central Airport in West Berlin, East Germany, from February 1982 to March 1985. His next assignment was as a Voice Systems Operator, Tactical Reporter, Plaintext Weather Processor, Voice Systems Controller, Voice Analysis Manager, and Airborne Linguist in the Operations Division of the 6981st Electronic Security Group (renamed the 381st Intelligence Squadron on 1 October 1993) from March 1985 until he was killed in the crash of an E-3B Sentry (Call Sign "Yukla 27") shortly after takeoff from Elmendorf AFB on September 22, 1995. Ernest Parrish was buried at Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Fort Richardson, Alaska.
His Meritorious Service Medal Citation reads:
Members of Flight Yukla 27 distinguished themselves in the performance of outstanding service to the United States and Canada while serving as E-3 Airborne Warning and Air Control Systems air crew members assigned to 3rd Wing, 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron and the 381st Air Intelligence Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. They consistantly demonstrated outstanding airmanship while providing long range airborne surveillance, detection, identification, and command and control during deployed operations and in the Alaska region. All were dedicated volunteers selflessly serving, and fully committed to the defense of their nations and the Alaska region. Our memory of these airmen will forever be of professionals who stepped to the front and answered the call to duty and made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom. The distinctive accomplishments of each of these individuals reflect credit upon themselves, the United States Air Force, and Canadian Forces.