Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tony (William A.) Farrar dies of injuries from I.E.D.

REDLANDS - Rialto police Capt. William "Tony" Farrar Sr. didn't think there was anything significant when he saw two men in Army uniforms on Friday night, but when they approached the door of his Redlands home, he realized something was wrong.

"Once they got to my door in full dress uniform, it was pretty apparent the message was not going to be something I was going to like," he said.

It wasn't.

His 20-year-old son William "Tony" Farrar Jr. was killed in Iraq May 11 when an improvised explosive device was detonated near his vehicle in Al Iskandariyah. He was assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade out of Darmstadt, Germany. The Palm Springs High School graduate had been in the Army since September 2005 and had been in Iraq since November 2006. He lived in Redlands for a year after high school graduation.

"The military was a good choice for him to find out what he wanted to do," said his stepmother Cathy Farrar.

He had talked of following in his father's footsteps with a career in law enforcement. In his last e-mail to his father from Iraq early last week his father said he Farrar Jr. was not sure whether he would return to Redlands or Germany, where he was stationed, when he went on leave in August.
He was in good spirits, he said.

"He was kind of quiet and was the more soft spoken of the three boys," Farrar Sr. said.

His brother Kenny is a Marine and his brother Nic attends Crafton Hills College where he is studying to be a paramedic. He also has 10-year-old twin sisters, Christina and Samantha. Cathy looks back fondly on the time he spent with the girls. Although he was older, he would still play games with them and draw cartoons for them.

The family has received support from the community since they learned of Farrar Jr.'s death.

Farrar Sr. said the family has received flowers, cards and meals. He has heard from colleagues he has not spoken to in two decades and from people he has never met.

The Rialto Police Department, where Farrar Sr. is second in command, has been shocked by the news, said Chief Mark Kling.

"We are shaken by this tragic news of the loss of the captain's son," Kling said. "He is a remarkable man."

Kling said the department plans to support the family in whatever way they can. Funeral services are pending and Kling expects a large Rialto Police Department presence at the funeral. The department is in the planning stages, but will likely call on other cities' police departments to help them so they can attend the funeral.

Farrar Sr. also credited the Army casualty assistance officer for his support in helping the family through the difficult time by helping with funeral arrangements.

The family is awaiting news that his body has returned to the United States. When his body is shipped to Ontario International Airport, the family will be waiting for him.

"It is going to be really tough, but these are the next steps to get through this," Farrar Sr. said.

His funeral service will be at First Missionary Baptist Church of Redlands, where he was a member. Graveside services will be at Riverside National Cemetery.

Farrar Jr. is the third Redlands soldier to be killed in Iraq. Army Specialist Vernon R. Widner, who was the first, died on Nov. 17, 2005, from injuries when his Humvee was rammed and flipped over. In September 2006, Hannah Leah McKinny was killed Sept. 4, 2006, when she was crossing the road and struck by another soldier who was driving a Humvee.

From the Redlands Daily Facts