By Martin Farricker, Sr.
During February, Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Farricker of the U.S. Navy was assigned to Afghanistan. It just happened to be to the same unit that his brother was in.
Chris had graduated from the Citadel and chosen a naval career. His brother, Maj. Daniel Farricker, had joined the U.S. Air Force some years earlier. Two separate branches of the service. They each went their separate ways.
Dan, lives with his wife, Alice, and their children in Alabama. Chris and his wife, Samantha, live in Virginia. By some strange stroke of fate, these brothers in two different branches of the service found themselves half way around the world, in the same unit at the same time.
Even more incredible, is that it was the second time this special encounter happened in the Farricker family. Almost a century earlier, their great, grand uncles, John Malvey, (who had married Mary Farricker), and his brother, Edward, happened to bump into each other on a street in Paris, France, in 1917, during World War I. They were in the U.S. Army, but were serving in two different divisions.
Both happened to be on R&R from their units on the front lines, at the exact same time, in the exact same place. After some laughs over a glass of French wine, they went into a photographer’s studio and had their picture taken together. They mailed the photo home, with love to their mother. Somehow, I became the keeper of that 97-year-old photo.
After they returned to the front, they were both wounded and received the Purple Heart medal. Years later, John and Mary had a son, they named Edward. He served in World War II and was killed in the Battle of the Bulge.
He is buried in the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. Like his father, he too, received the Purple Heart. Upon receiving the news of her 17-year-old son’s death, her only son, Mary Farricker Malvey suffered a massive stroke and died.
Here together, for the very first time, are the two photos of the two sets of brothers that destiny brought together. Things may have changed a lot over the past century, but the patriotism and courage of the “Fighting Farrickers” has not.
Besides Dan and Chris, there are other Farrickers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Chris’ wife is also a U.S. Navy officer serving aboard a destroyer, somewhere on the Atlantic ocean. Like their many ancestors before them, who have answered the call in war and peace for generations, they are proud to serve America.
And, as long as our nation has service men and women like these, she’ll always be safe.
Martin Farricker and his wife were residents of Woodbridge for over 40 years before moving to Brick.
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