PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Family plays a big role in why citizens enlist in the military. Several members of 1st Lt. John Farrall’s family have served in military ranks during notable conflicts. His great-grandfather was an officer during the Civil War and his father served with the 1st Infantry Division as an infantryman during the Vietnam War. He felt the call to duty during the beginning stages of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom to follow the footsteps of the men before him to serve his country in a time of war.
Farrall, an Overland Park, Kan., native, currently serves as a field artillery officer with the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Joining the military, he walked away from finishing his degree in business communications to serve his country in a time of conflict.
Just a few credits shy of completing his degree, Farrall left the University of Kansas and enlisted in the Marine Corps as an avionics technician.
He attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in 2004. Marines that attend boot camp on the east coast refer to recruits trained at MCRD San Diego as “Hollywood Marines,” but there’s nothing “Hollywood” about them. While sand fleas rule the sand pits at MCRD Parris Island, S.C., mountains rule the MCRD San Diego training areas.
“While climbing up those mountains, you learn to overcome anything in front of you. So since then, I always put my best foot forward when facing challenges,” Farrall said.
During his enlistment in the Marines, Farrall deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he learned multiple lessons of resiliency that helped place him on the path of being all he could be.
After leaving the Corps to embark on the next stage in his military career, Farrell began the process of getting commissioned as an officer in the Army after some wise words from a family friend.
“A family friend, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, suggested the Army and at first I said, ‘No sir! I’m a Marine,’” said Farrall. “Then the fact that my dad was in the Big Red One helped sway my decision to join the Army.”
During his year-long break in service, Farrall received the opportunity to work for the first-class fashion empire of Burberry in Kansas City, Mo.
“One of my old supervisors called me up and offered me a job. I worked with great people, but I just missed the military,” said Farrall.
Even though he was met with numerous limitations by the branch he loved, it ultimately led him to fulfill his passion of being a military officer in the Army.
His persistence paid off when Farrall was commissioned Jan. 13, 2011, as a field artillery officer, and when he speaks of his career, he's not just doing 20 years and then retiring.
“As long as the stars align, I will stay in the military as long as they’ll have me,” said Farrall.
Farrall hopes to pass on his wealth of experience to the soldiers under his charge once the brigade resets after the deployment.