Mercury MA-8 Flight Sigma 7 occurred on October 3, 1962 when, over the course of nine hours, Walter Marty "Wally" Schirra, Jr. orbited the Earth six times. Mercury MA-9 Flight Faith 7 launched on May 15, 1963 and landed on May 16, 1963. During the course of that mission, Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. orbited Earth 22 times. Both flights were recovered in the Pacific Ocean by the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier CV-33 Kearsarge.
Donald Fred Parker (1934-2016) was a naval flight officer assigned to the ship's company of the USS Kearsarge (CV-33). Parker was junior officer of the deck for the Mercury MA-8 Flight Sigma 7 recovery operation, and officer of the deck for the Mercury MA-9 Flight Faith 7 recovery. He was also the administrative assistant to the executive officer, and his duties included writing "Family Gram" newsletters to be sent under the captain's signature to friends and relatives of the men on the ship.