IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 180-06
March 1, 2006
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq on February 26, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV during patrol operations. Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum, New York
- Specialist Clay P. Farr, 21, of Bakersfield, Califfornia
- Specialist Joshua U. Humble, 21, of Appleton, Maine
28 February 2006:
A memorial service will be held this weekend to honor Specialist Clay Farr, who recently died in Iraq, and his family has invited the community to attend.
On Tuesday, the Farr family was planning the funeral and memorial services for their 21-year-old son who killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Sunday.
It’s been an exhausting and emotional week for the family, and especially for Patrick Farr, who has been mourning the loss of his son.
He says Farr loved being a soldier, and working in special operations where he checked the landscape for danger before the other troops arrived.
He will treasure his son's two purple hearts, and now the bronze star.
“It was awarded to him for the final action in combat which he was killed in,” he said.
Six months ago, he and his son had a talk about the possibility of being killed in war.
Now, he is dealing with the enormous task of burying a son.
He is putting a memorial in Bakersfield, and burying his son at the Arlington Virginia National Cemetery.
Visitation will be on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. PM at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
A memorial service will be held Saturday at Valley Baptist Church at 1 p.m., with a graveside service immediately following at Hillcrest Memorial.
His father says he's not sure when his son's body will arrive in Bakersfield, but when it does he will be planning the Arlington Virginia Funeral for his son.
3 March 2006:
The public is invited to take part in services for 21-year-old Specialist Clay Farr this weekend, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq last Sunday.
Specialist Farr will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In Bakersfield, there will be a memorial service held Saturday at Valley Baptist Church at 1 p.m.
A graveside service will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park, where a casket filled with mementos will be buried next to his fiancé, who died in a car crash two years ago.
6 March 2006
Two cavalry scouts stationed at Fort Drum were killed when an improvised explosive device or IED struck their vehicle during security patrol in Iraq.
Specialists Joshua U. Humble and Clay P. Farr were both members of A Troop, 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, which is based at Fort Drum. The unit was deployed last August to support military operations in Baghdad.
Humble, 21, a native of Appleton, Maine joined the Army in January 2004 in Portland Maine, he finished his basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in May of 2005.
Farr, also 21, was from Bakersfield, Calif. Like Humble, he joined the Army in January of 2004, and attended basic and advanced technical training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In May of last year, Farr was assigned to the 10th Mountain ivision and was deployed in August 2005.
Both soldiers were awarded the Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
A third soldier from the same unit suffered shrapnel injuries in the attack.
Benjamin Abel, media relations officer at Fort Drum, did not know the extent of the soldier’s wounds, he said, “I do not believe that they [injuries] would be life threatening.”
For Soldier, Sense of Duty Took Root Early
By Arianne Aryanpur
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Specialist Clay P. Farr decided early on what he wanted to do with his life. He would spend three years in the military, marry his high school sweetheart, then settle down as a sheriff's deputy.
But all that changed in 2004, when his fiancee, Sara Ransom, 16, died in a car accident.
Family members and friends said he never got over the loss. In a letter to his mother, he asked to be buried by her side were he to be killed in Iraq.
Farr, 21, of Bakersfield, California, died February 26, 2006, when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee during a patrol in Baghdad. Specialist Joshua U. Humble, 21, of Appleton, Maine, was also killed.
At a memorial service in California two weeks ago, an empty coffin filled with mementos honoring the determined young man was buried beside his fiancee.
“It's what they ultimately wanted,” said Regina Ransom, Sara's mother. “They wanted to be together, and they are.”
Yesterday, Farr's body was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. He was the 224th person killed supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried there.
About 50 family members and friends gathered as an Army chaplain delivered the sermon. Afterward, mourners placed bouquets of white roses and orchids beside Farr's coffin.
Farr is survived by his father and stepmother, Patrick and Silver Farr; his brother, Chad Farr; and his mother, Carrol Alderete.
Farr's mother said he was destined for the military. “We knew from an early age that he would be in the service,” she said. “He was born with dog tags on.”
In kindergarten, camouflage was his favorite color — until his teacher told him it wasn't a color. In elementary school, he dressed as a soldier for Halloween with face paint from an Army supply store.
Farr also liked to ride BMX bikes and play paintball in the orchard behind his house, recalled friend Austin Brightwell. “We were always outdoors doing something,” he said.
At Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Farr was studious and enrolled in a technical theater class. It was in that class he met Sara, whom he would later ask to be his wife.
“All we heard about was him,” Regina Ransom said. “There was nobody else for her but Clay.”
The two planned to marry after Sara graduated from college. Farr, who volunteered with the Kern County Sheriff's Explorer Unit, was planning a career as a sheriff's deputy. He had talked vaguely of joining the Army, but it wasn't until the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that he became serious about it.
“When he found out there was going to be a war, he realized there was something to be done, and he thought he was one of the people who should be doing it,” Brightwell said.
Farr graduated from high school in 2003 and immediately enlisted in the Army as a cavalry scout. He was later assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, N.Y. He volunteered for combat duty. His mother said his vehicle had been struck twice by roadside bombs before the attack that took his life.
Farr was a week from returning home on leave when he was killed. His tour of duty in Iraq would have ended in September, but friends and relatives said he was planning to reenlist because he didn't consider the job done.
“Clay loved what he was doing and loved where he was,” Brightwell said. “He said it was the most fun thing he'd ever done.”
Army Specialist Clay Farr, 21, Bakersfield; Killed by Roadside Bomb in Baghdad: April 9, 2006
On the day he enlisted in the Army, Clay Farr volunteered to be a cavalry scout.
But his father urged him to “get a job in the back,” where his chances for survival would be greater.
“He told me, ‘I'm going to be in the action, Dad. I'm getting on the front line,' ” Patrick Farr said.
Even as a youngster, Clay Farr seemed destined for the military life, his father said. In school, he liked to color everything in camouflage patterns.
“Clay was all Army from the time he was small,” his father said, recalling a photograph of his then-4-year-old son wearing a camouflage ball cap at an air show. “That's when the Army got him.”
The 21-year-old Bakersfield native enlisted after graduating from Centennial High School in 2003 and asked to go to Iraq.
On February 26, 2006, Farr was one of two soldiers killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee while they were on patrol in Baghdad. Also killed was Army Specislist Joshua U. Humble, 21, of Appleton, Maine. Both were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.
Joining the Army was part of Farr's bigger plan: After the war, he was going to marry his high-school sweetheart and become a Kern County sheriff's deputy, his parents said.
In high school, Farr rode around Bakersfield in boots and camouflage dungarees as he and his friends scouted areas such as the almond orchard across from their high school to play paintball or jump their BMX bikes, said one of his best friends, Jared Russell, 20.
Farr also joined the Explorer Scouts and rode along with sheriff's deputies nearly every weekend, preferring to patrol the city's east side because “that's where the action is,” Russell said.
After graduation, he worked as a security guard at a hospital and shopping mall.
On the day before boot camp, Farr reunited with his mother, Carrol Alderete. He insisted that she meet his fiancee, Sara Ransom, 16.
Three weeks later, Sara was killed in a car accident.
“Clay was totally in love,” Alderete said. “It was just like a fairy tale.”
Farr returned home to bury his fiancee but didn't stay. He turned down the Army's offer to take a few months off before returning to boot camp. He told his mother, “It was part of our plan, and I'm just going to stick with it,” she said.
In an April 2004 letter, Farr promised Alderete that he would be careful. “Mom, you have a no-fear son, but I know when I've gone too far, and I'll stop before I get hurt,” he wrote.
His father said he had a bad feeling. His son's Humvee had been hit by roadside bombs twice in two weeks. Farr was not injured the first time, but was hospitalized with a concussion a week later, on Feb. 19, his 21st birthday.
Despite those close calls, Farr told his father that he had decided to reenlist.
“He said, ‘Well, my job's not done here, Dad, and I can't leave because if we don't finish this thing over here….' He guaranteed me that those insurgents would be in our backyards,' ” Patrick Farr said.
If Clay Farr was not scared for his safety, his father was. “After the second bomb hit, I told my wife something's wrong,” Patrick Farr recalled. “I said we need to prepare ourselves, something is about to happen.”
A week later, his son was killed. Alderete said she has been told since her son's death that he usually drove the Humvee but was not behind the wheel Feb. 26 because of his head injury. The driver survived, she said.
Farr was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. He was buried March 14 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Next to Sara's grave in Bakersfield, Farr's father also buried a coffin filled with stuffed animals, clothes, photographs and other mementos from friends and family.
“I know he's in heaven,” Alderete said. “I know he's with Sara.”
In addition to his parents, Farr is survived by a brother, Chad; his stepmother, Silver Farr; his stepfather, Anthony Alderete; and two stepsisters, Amanda Cope and Taylor Alderete.
23 December 2011:
Clay Patrick Farr would've gotten a kick out of a street named after him.
“As Mr. Popular as he was, it would've really pleased him to know that this was happening,” said his stepmother, Silver Farr.The proposed Clay Patrick Farr Way
Patrick and Silver Farr are working with the city to rename Main Plaza Drive to Clay Patrick Farr Way in memory of their stepson and son who was killed in Iraq in 2006.
Main Plaza Drive between Rosedale Highway and Hageman Road will be renamed Clay Patrick Farr Way in memory of the Centennial High School graduate and U.S. Army scout who was killed in Iraq on February 26, 2006.
The new signs will be posted in about three months if no one appeals the Planning Commission's recent approval, said Planning Director Jim Eggert.
Clay Patrick Farr Way would be the first street city officials have renamed after someone killed in either of the two most recent wars.
Farr's family chose the street where Clay and his brother Chad spent much of their childhood, where and eavesdropped on neighborhood conversations until his father told him it wasn't his business, where he and friends dressed in black and played at being Special Operations Forces and where he and a friend made $600 one summer when they were 12 years old, selling sodas to construction workers at the future shopping center.
“That's too much for a little boy,” Silver said, laughing. “He was a little entrepreneur though.”
“He had that infectuous personality,” said Clay's father, Patrick Farr.
Clay had plans to be in the military, then join the Kern County Sheriff's Department from the time he was young, his father said. When the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hit, he wanted to join the military immediately, Patrick said.
By time he started basic training at Fort Knox in Kentucky in January 2004, he'd gotten engaged to Sara Ransom, another Centennial student. Silver described Sara as “ballerina-like” and sweet. Clay had been in basic training for three weeks when Sara died in a car accident.
“When that happened, Clay was devastated” and came home for two weeks, Patrick said. He returned to his unit and was deployed in August 2005. He was in his element in Baghdad, Patrick said. He told his parents he knew the streets of Baghdad better than those in Bakersfield.
Clay and Patrick had talked about the possibility of Clay being killed.
“I didn't think anything would happen to him because I thought he was special,” Patrick said. “I thought the odds were in our favor.”
Carrol Alderete, Clay's biological mother, hadn't seen Clay for several years when he showed up one day at Stockdale High School where she worked and told her he was joining the Army and getting married, she said.
Carrol remembers it as a very special day that restarted their relationship. After that, Carrol and Clay talked more often while he was in training, catching up on things they'd missed and talking about his childhood, she said.
“It was like our relationship was back on track,” Carrol said.
But his plans to enlist worried her, she said.
“It scared me the minute he told me,” she said. “I really wanted to talk him out of it.” But working in a high school, Carrol said she saw lots of teenagers without direction, and Clay had a plan. She didn't want to discourage him.
“I wasn't sure what to do. You just have to make your own decisions,” she said of Clay's choice.
Clay told her that the Sept. 11 attacks spurred his decision.
“He just wanted to go defend our country,” she said. “All the way here out in Bakersfield, that day has affected me. I surely didn't think (that day) would involve my son.”
The Iraq War officially ended last week. “I've been waiting to hear that for a while,” Carrol said. “I really wanted to hear it before I lost Clay.”
Patrick said he started to worry when he learned Clay's patrol had been hit two weeks in a row. One attack was on February 19, 2006, Clay's 21st birthday. He called his father shortly after from a hospital. Clay had a concussion and shrapnel wounds, but he wanted to go back to fighting, Patrick said.
Clay's enlistment was set to finish in January 2007, but he wanted to reenlist, join the Special Forces and go to Afghanistan, he told Patrick.
“I said, ‘That was two bombs in two weeks … I'm getting scared. Could you not reenlist and just come home?'” Patrick said.
“He told me it was so bad over there he could not turn his back on it,” Patrick said.
That was the last time Patrick and Clay talked.
When he hung up the phone, Patrick told Silver he didn't think Clay would live another week and that they should prepare themselves.
On Feb. 26, 2006, a sergeant asked Clay to drive in his Humvee because the patrol was going to a dangerous area Clay had been to before, Patrick said. As they passed through the area, Clay saw someone looking out of place with a cell phone, often used to detonate roadside bombs.
Clay stopped the Humvee and wanted to follow the man, but his sergeant ordered him back, Patrick said. They went a short way farther when they were struck by an armor-piercing round. Clay and another soldier, Spc. Joshua Humble of Appleton, Maine, were killed.
Clay was buried at Arlington, as he wished, but his parents also buried a casket next to Sara's grave. Patrick said it was filled to the brim with mementos brought by friends, family and other veterans.
The Kern County chapter of the Wounded Heroes Fund, which works with service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, approached the Farrs to propose a way to memorialize Clay, said Jennifer Barnett of the organization. More than 20 men from Kern County have been killed in those wars, she said.
Silver said she thought about the street name idea because Clay had asked them to fly an American flag in the backyard, visible from Main Plaza Drive, when he enlisted. The couple now lives in California City.
“The minute people stop talking about him, seeing about him, hearing about him is the minute he starts to fade away,” Silver said. “I don't want that to happen. … To have the street named, it's very touching that he's been honored in this way.”
A MESSAGE FROM GOD
By Silver Farr
Back when my son Clay got his learner's permit for his driver's license in 2002, I would always let him do the driving when ever we went somewhere together. I laughed at him the first time we were in a drive thru (Jack In The Box) and he realized he was going to have to place the order. He stammered through the long list of items for our order, but he made it through OK. Then there was one day that we were at our bank's drive through ATM. I handed him my ATM card, and told him my ‘secret' PIN number … 8321. He was VERY pleased that I had to ‘disclose' my secret number, and was down right giddy! He told me that “Now that I have this number I CAN DO ANYTHING”! He was soooooo proud of himself!
Fast forward to 2008 … My husband and I went to Arlington National Cemetery on our yearly pilgrimage to place flowers on our precious son's grave. After having spent several hours there tearfully remembering our youngest child, we prepared to leave. For some reason I was compelled to walk around the back of his headstone and see what number had been assigned to him. When I saw the number, I nearly fainted. There, etched in the cold marble stone, was the number he had been so very proud of having! 8321! I couldn't even speak … my eyes filled with tears and I showed the number to my husband. We knew right then and there, that this was a message from GOD AND Clay. He was letting us know that he was truly in the most glorious place, and that now he could do ANYTHING! I have had the same PIN number for the same account every since 1984 … before he was even born. There is no way in the world, that I will ever doubt that there IS going to be a day when we will be reunited with our precious heroes.
FARR, CLAY PATRICK
SPC US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 02/19/1985
- DATE OF DEATH: 02/26/2006
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8321
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard