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First Name: Walter

Last Name: Farrell

Birthplace: San Francisco, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Greatsinger

Date of Birth: 04 June 1897

Date of Death: 11 October 1990

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Walter Greatsinger Farrell

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Walter Greatsinger Farrell
Major General, U.S. Marine Corps

Walter Greatsinger Farrell was born on 4 June 1897 in San Francisco, CA, the son of General and Mrs. P. J. H. Farrell. He joined the U.S. Army in 1916, but soon transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps. "I didn't know anything about the Marines except they had a red stripe on their pants and they wore a funny kind of hat," he recalled in 1988.

As a young Marine, Lieutenant Farrell served in France during World War I, leading replacement companies through combat training.

Upon the completion of flight training in 1921, Farrell was designated as a Naval Aviator. During the period between WWI and WWII, he served in Haiti and Nicaragua. At one time, he briefly served as Assistant Naval Attaché at the American Embassy in London.

After reorganizing and training an Air Wing in San Diego at the outset of World War II, Farrell went to Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands. There he earned the Silver Star Medal for "exceptional heroism" in action against the Japanese.

Promoted to Brigadier General, he commanded the 3rd Marine Air Wing, and later served in China.

Early in 1945, Farrell reported for duty at El Toro Marine Air Station in Orange County, CA, as Deputy Commander of the 11th Naval District Air Bases.

After 30 years of service, Farrell retired from active duty in 1946 as a Major General. At the time of his retirement, he was in command of all the Marine Corps Air Bases on the West Coast of the U.S.

A pioneer aviator, at the time of his death, Walter Greatsinger Farrell was the oldest living U.S. Naval Aviator. Two of his pilot licenses were signed by Orville Wright.

Death and Burial

Major General Walter Greatsinger Farrell died on Thursday, 11 October 1990, at San Diego Naval Hospital. He was 93.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Belcher Farrell, on 1 July 1989. He was survived by two sons, Patrick, of Newport Beach, CA; and Thomas, of Charlottesville, VA; and a daughter, Mary (Micki) of San Diego, CA; and by a stepson, Frederick Trapnell, of Los Altos, CA. He was also survived by eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Walter was buried next to Mary at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, also in San Diego.

Honoree ID: 3277   Created by: MHOH




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