Photo Gallery: 05/25: Soldier Killed in Iraq

REDLANDS - Reserved and self-effacing, Spc. William "Tony" Farrar Jr. was never comfortable with outpourings of attention.

But this was different. Farrar, 20, was killed in combat in Iraq on May 11.

His body lay in a coffin draped by an American flag in the Worship Hall of First Missionary Baptist Church on Friday.

His spirit was above, 400 mourners were told, and he was smiling. It was possibly a mild, lips-compressed expression familiar from recent pictures.

"Today we honor a hero, a hero to his country, a hero to his faith," said Scott Breckley, Farrar's uncle. Breckley read a few lines from his Bible while standing over Farrar's coffin, then completed the hour-long service.

"This is not the end, this is Tony's beginning."

In a solemn service dabbed by rays of humor and hope, mourners packed the small Redlands church to send off a local soldier whose achieved dream of joining the military was all too brief.

Farrar, the son of a Rialto police captain and a military policeman in his own right, was killed when a roadside bomb detonated near the Humvee he was driving about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Farrar was assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade out of Darmstadt, Germany.

He enlisted in the Army in September 2005 soon after graduating from Palm Springs High School.

Farrar was deployed to Iraq in November the following year.

The packed funeral procession was joined by dozens of uniformed Rialto police officers and firefighters. Farrar's father, Tony Sr., 46, is a 19-year veteran of the Rialto department.

The soldier's younger brother, 18-year-old Ken, also came to the lectern to speak about his big brother.

His voice at times cracking, Ken, who joined the Marines in December and could soon find himself in Iraq, said he knew the severity of the conflict but couldn't fathom that tragedy would strike down his "hero."

"He may have been small," Ken Farrar said of his wiry brother, who was temporarily denied admission to the Army for being underweight. "But I'd just like to be half the man he was."

Christine Rodriguez, a childhood friend of Farrar's, moved to the podium to tell of the day at church camp two years ago when Farrar accepted God into his life.

"He's in heaven right now because he decided to give his heart to God that day," Rodriguez said, crying.

Speakers also humorously spoke about Farrar's near obsession with video games and ravenous appetite, despite his slight build.

Amid the tragedy, the mood was at once solemn, proud and hopeful. A still-photo montage set to music included quotes from historical leaders such as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Edmund Burke and President Ronald Reagan.

A procession of cars, police and fire vehicles and about 60 motorcycles ridden by Patriot Guard Riders, a nationwide group that escorts military funerals, took Farrar's body to Riverside National Cemetery, where he was buried.

Farrar was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor posthumously for his service to the nation.

The services were intimate and personal, with the short list of speakers sharply focused on the fallen young man, his sacrifice and his faith.

"This is beautiful," said Darin Good, a resident who watched the procession from across the street. "This is the way to honor our heroes."

Contact writer Robert Rogers at (909) 386-3855 or via e-mail at


BS Ranch Perspective:

I Remember when I first was to meet Tony Farrar Jr. and his Brother Kenny. It was way back in 1990, when they were just little tot's. Tony Sr. and I were assigned as Explorer Coordinator's and we both were getting ready to expand the membership of the Explorer Post. We had some applicants, but we had to do some Back Round Investigations and I went to The Farrar's House to Pick Tony Sr. up to get started on the Back Round Investigations.

I met Tony Jr. and Kenny when they were getting their breakfast in order by their Father, and boy they had engergy, they could have kept a go cart going all day on very little effort due to the energy that those little boys had back then. The energy was endless until Tony Sr. Punched a VCR Tape of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory into the VCR and pressed play it was like their power butten had been neutralized and the power was drained.

Both Tony Jr. and Kenny were stuck to the screen while Gene Wilder started singing and the Umpa Lumpa's were belting out tunes. It was rather cute. They both grew to be fine young men. It was hard to say good by to that little boy, at that funeral that day.

Tony, Cathy, and family I just want to say that you are in my prayers, and my thoughts. I have lost many friends, family, in my life time, and well I have even survived death, it isn't easy doing that either, But god Bless You, and I want to say that you are in my prayers through this hard time right now.

God Bless You,

Buck, Theresa, Melissa, Princess Leia, Hanna, and Maxwell Smart too

BS Ranch