FARRIS, DALE WAYNE
Rank / Branch:
SSGT E-5, AIR FORCE
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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list by County
DALE WAYNE FARRIS, STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. AIR FORCE, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Dale was the eldest of two sons born to Mr and Mrs. Don Farris. He was born in Seminole, Texas. As a matter of irony, Dale was named "Dale" after Mr. Farris' brother who was killed in Belgium during World War II. Mr. Farris was "4F" due to being blind in one eye. Mr. Farris attempted to enlist, but was turned down.
Mr. Farris worked in the the oilfied and was a driller when Dale was young. They lived in Seagraves, Texas when Dale was born. There was no hospital, so they drove to Seminole for his birth. When younger brother Bobbye Joe was born in 1949, they were living in Eunice, New Mexico and they drove in a terrible ice storm to Stanton, Texas for his birth. The next year 1950, they moved to Odessa. Mr. Farris was working as a driller and they moved to where the drilling rigs were running.
Permian High School-1965
While in Odessa, Dale attended school at Travis and Dowling Elementary Schools. He then went to Bonham Junior High School for the 7th grade and part of the 8th grade. In 1961, the oil economy was bad in/around Odessa and Mr. Farris could not locate a job, so he signed up to go to Brazil to drill. They were there in Brazil and Venezuela for the next six years. While there, Dale attended school at the Pan American School. This school was sponsored by the oil companies and the American contractors working there. After four years the school shut down, Dale and Bobbye then attended school at the St. George English Academy, a British school.
It was before his senior year that Dale came back to Odessa to live with his grandparents in order to complete school at Permian High School. He was in the 1965 graduating class. Dale loved sports, but there was really no organized sports in the schools he attended in Brazil, so Dale played basketball at the American clubs there. Dale was in the "Who's Who" at Permian. He worked at Bailey Griffith Firestone as a deliveryman while attending Permian and also for the summer after high school.
Dale then attended Grayson County Junior College in Dennison, Texas for a year. He was living with his uncle at the time. Dale married Donna Mitchum on June 4, 1966 in the backyard of his parent's home in Odessa. He and Donna met while attending Permian High School. Donna is a 1966 graduate of Permian High School.
Dale enlisted in the Air Force in March of 1967, as he knew he would eventually be drafted. He did his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas; technical training at Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul, Illinois. Donna joined him at Chanute. He was then assigned to Kelly Air Force Base back in San Antonio, Texas. A son, Darren Wayne, was born March 9, 1968. Dale re-upped for a second enlistment in 1970 and was sent to Kirkland Air Force, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Donna stayed with her mother in Odessa as she was having a difficulty with her second pregnancy and Dale was flying all over the world as a member of an "AWAC" crew doing weather survelliance. Donna couldn't be by herself with a 2 year old son and being ill in her pregnancy. Damon Wyn, a son, was born September 4, 1970. As soon as Donna was able, she rejoined Dale at Kirkland in March 1971.
Dale received his orders for Vietnam in July 1971. Donna didn't want him to go, but Dale didn't try to get out of it. When Dale left for Vietnam, Donna was home with two children, ages four and 18 months. Dale was assigned to the 377th Air Base Wing (Tan Son Nhut), 7th Air Force, but he was physically assigned to the Air Force Advisory Team at Phu Cat. It was there at the start of the "Eastertide Offensive" on Good Friday, March 31, 1972, a rocket and mortar attack was launched against the Air Force Base. Dale was among a group of airmen and they were sitting on the flight line waiting for aircraft to land, when they heard the sound of a 122 mm rocket coming in. The group of guys then started to run. Dale was last in the line of guys and the rocket landed near him. Another guy in front of him was slightly wounded. Dale was the only serious casualty. Donna received a letter from an airman who was with Dale many years ago and in the letter he stated he was the first to reach Dale and Dale took the brunt of the rocket and this probably served to save many other lives.
Sunset Memorial Gardens, Odessa, Tx
Dale was buried with full military honors at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa, Texas. He was survived by his wife, Donna, his two sons, Darren and Damon, his parents, Don and Jo Farris and his younger brother Bobbye Joe Farris.
Donna remarried and is currently divorced and lives in Ontario, California, where she owns and operates a interior design business. Darren lives in Texas, has a daughter, Jordan Elizabeth born May 6, 1992. Damon lives in Fontana, California and has four children, Brittany born September 19, 1994; Bradley born November 21, 1995; Logan, born January 12, 2000 and Farris Dale born in January 2004. Bobbye Joe lives in Fort Worth, works as a respiratory technician. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Bobbye Joe served in Vietnam in Medical Service the year before Dale. Don and Jo Farris live in Odessa, where Mr. Farris is still active and although once retired, he is now driving on contract for the U.S. Post Office Service out of the Midland, Texas Central Post Office located at the Midland International Airport. Mrs. Farris passed away December 20, 2013 and is buried next to Dale.
Dale was one of six in his graduating class of 1965 to perish in Vietnam. His classmates were: Bobby Eaton, USMC; Randall Jarrell, USMC; John Neary, U.S. Army Paratrooper; Michael Gladden, U.S. Army Paratrooper; and Marvin Rex Young, U.S. Army, Congressional Medal of Honor Winner.
Additional information was provided by Tom Bilger, CMSgt, USAF, of Spokane, Washinton