Maj. Gen. Walter G. Farrell, USMC
Submitted by: Dana Tibbitts
Maj. Gen. Walter G. Farrell served in World War 1 with the United States Marine Corps. The dates of service are: Known 1916-1946.
My grandfather, Major General Walter Greatsinger Farrell, best known as “Great,” joined the Marine Corps in 1917 after a brief stint in the Army. A consummate storyteller, Great fought in WWI and WWII, earning a Silver Star for “exceptional heroism against the Japanese.” Between wars he served in Haiti, Nicaragua, and later China, where he commanded the 3rd Marine Air Wing. In 1945, Farrell reported for duty at El Toro as deputy commander, 11th Naval District Air Bases.
‘Banana Wars’ author Ivan Musicant referred to Great as “the most fascinating man person I’ve ever met.” He was a resident of San Diego for more than 60 years. At the time of his death in 1990, Great was the oldest living naval aviator in the United States, and held two of the few pilot’s licenses signed by Orville Wright.
Walter Greatsinger Farrell in WWI
Parris Island & Quantico, 1917-18
The fledgling four-square-mile training base in balmy South Carolina was enjoying a construction boom, garnering its reputation as the “Hot Bed of the Marine Corps.” But the explosive growth on the base at the outset of WWI had its downside. New recruits arrived to discover that the depot was plumb out of uniforms. Instead, each man was issued two pairs of pajamas while they awaited the arrival of the next shipment of regulation shirts and trousers. For a week or so, they were stuck in their skivvies, listening to lectures on military discipline and esprit de corps.