When he was going through Army boot camp fresh out of high school, William “Tony” Farrar Jr. passed all the tests but one: he was too light. The recruiter sent him home for 13 days to fatten him up.
After two weeks of eating at his dad’s home in Redlands and his mom’s in Palm Springs, he still had to suck down as much water as he could before weighing in. Farrar barely made it.
He graduated from boot camp and military police training in February 2006 and was elated to be stationed in Darmstadt, Germany. He was assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade.
To his father, a Rialto police captain, Farrar seemed to have found a sense of purpose in serving his country. He talked about going into law enforcement after his service.
“He really liked helping people,” said William Farrar Sr.
Farrar, who held the rank of specialist, was deployed to Iraq in November.
His e-mails from the war were upbeat. “He actually liked eating the food, which was the funniest thing I heard,” said the elder Farrar, whose son was a famously picky eater. “He talked about his computer games and asked about his younger sisters.”
Farrar wasn’t one to pour out his feelings about life in the war. He was the quietest of three brothers, a sensitive, patient, determined young man with a dry wit. He and his father would watch the Mel Brooks comedy “Spaceballs” over and over, until they could beat the characters to their lines. His favorite hobby was playing paintball.
Farrar would always be there to play games with his younger twin sisters, now 11, when his brothers would not.
In April, his dad was trying to coordinate a vacation to visit family in Wisconsin in anticipation of his son’s finishing his tour, presumably at the end of this year. Farrar told him he had a girlfriend, Nancy, in Germany -- his first serious one -- and wasn’t sure if he could make it to the U.S. on his short leave. That was the last his dad heard from him.
In the late afternoon of May 11, an Air Force chaplain and an Army sergeant in full uniform knocked on the front door of the Farrars’ home in Redlands.
Farrar, 20, was killed that day when his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Iskandariya, south of Baghdad.
“We always thought about it,” Farrar’s father said. “But you never think it’s going to actually happen. Personally, I never thought this would happen.”
His mother, Sally Bors, found out the next day at the Palm Springs motorcycle shop she owns. “A gentleman in a uniform approached me,” Bors told the Desert Sun newspaper. “I kept telling myself that he wasn’t in an Army uniform -- that he wasn’t looking for me.”
As a result of his actions on May 11, Farrar, a graduate of Palm Springs High School, was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He also received an Army combat medal. Farrar was buried May 25 at Riverside National Cemetery.