War on Terrorism

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Face of Defense: Former Sergeant Serves as Artillery Officer

By Army Staff Sgt. Nicolas Morales
4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Jan. 24, 2013 – Family played a big role in why a former Marine sergeant now serving here as an Army artillery officer joined the military in the first place.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army 1st Lt. John Farrall, a former Marine sergeant, now serves in Afghanistan as a field artillery officer. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Nicolas Morales

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Several members of 1st Lt. John Farrall’s family have served 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. Farrall said he felt the call to duty during the beginning stages of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom to follow in their footsteps.

An Overland Park, Kan., native, Farrall is a field artillery officer with 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

When Farrall enlisted in the Marine Corps as an avionics technician, he said, he was just a few credits shy of completing his business communications degree at the University of Kansas. He attended boot camp in 2004 and conquered the mountainous terrain in the training areas at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif.

“While climbing up those mountains, you learn to overcome anything in front of you,” he said. “So since then, I always put my best foot forward when facing challenges.”

During his enlistment in the Marines, Farrall deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he said he learned lessons of resilience 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,’” Farrall recalled. “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 worked for a branch of a British fashion house in Kansas City, Mo.

“One of my old supervisors called me up and offered me a job,” he said. “I worked with great people, but I just missed the military.”

Farrall was commissioned Jan. 13, 2011, as a field artillery officer.

“As long as the stars align, I will stay in the military as long as they’ll have me,” he said.

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