Soldier from Utah killed in Germany copter crash

'He comes from a long line of patriotic people,' his mother says

Published: Saturday, Feb. 6 2010 1:24 p.m. MST

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with Gary Marc Farwell in Afghanistan, 2005. Farwell died Feb 3, 2010 when his black hawk helicopter crashed in Germany during a routine training mission.

Family Photo

Gary Marc Farwell, known as Marc to his family and Gary to his Army friends, died Wednesday in a helicopter crash during a routine training mission in Germany.

Farwell, 39, was a decorated combat veteran and chief warrant officer 3 in the U.S. Army. A Utah native, he enlisted in the Army in 1996 and had served for 14 years.

Farwell spent his early years in California, Japan and Texas while his father, who also is named Gary, attended medical school. The elder Gary Farwell also served two tours in Okinawa, Japan, and one in San Antonio before settling down in Orem.

As a young boy, Gary Marc Farwell was very adventuresome and loved the outdoors, said his mother, Louise Farwell, of Farmington, Ark.

Gary Marc Farwell, whose passion was flying, served two tours in Afghanistan and two tours in Iraq where he flew UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

"He comes from a long line of patriotic people," said his mother. "He's got a strong military background."

Gary Marc Farwell lived in Orem for eight years and attended Bonneville Elementary School, Orem Junior High School and the Waterford School, which was then located in Provo. He was an avid skier and fly fisherman and loved to hike.

Gary Marc Farwell served a mission for the LDS Church in Boston, Mass. He graduated from Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, and then graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in history on June 9, 1995. He was working on a master's degree at the time of his death.

"Marc had a deep love of life, a sharp sense of humor and an enthusiasm for the outdoors and history," said his father.

After graduating from the University of Utah, the Gary Marc Farwell enlisted in the Army at age 26 and earned the Senior Aviator Badge, the Expert Infantryman's Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Parachutist Wings and numerous Air Medals — two for valor. He also qualified and served as a senior instructor pilot for the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

"Chief Farwell's skill as a pilot was exceeded only by his devotion as a father, husband, son, sibling and friend," his father wrote.

Gary Marc Farwell married Tawnya Spaulding after a courtship through handwritten letters, which began when her mother saw a picture of Gary on his aunt's refrigerator.

They have three children, Ashlyn, 12; Ethan, 8; and Isabella, 3. They have resided in Germany for the past seven years, most recently in Reutlingen, near Stuttgart. His four deployments have been from Germany.

While living in Europe, their family has taken advantage of all the sights to see and things to do, such as skiing in the Swiss Alps and lying on the beach in Greece.

"He's done several really heroic things," Louise Farwell said of her son. "He's been a real good soldier."

Gary Marc Farwell's friends in the Army agree with his mother. Upon hearing of his death, many friends turned to his Facebook page to share memories of their times with him.

"While flying above you in Afghanistan, I watched the most amazing rescue I've ever seen to this date. Your skills as an aviator, and sheer determination to save soldiers' lives were absolutely unmatched. Flying through an Afghan river valley easily no wider than two lengths of your rotor, and under enemy fire, you meticulously maneuvered your aircraft to pick up one of our wounded SF brothers. I was absolutely amazed. Gary, it was an honor to serve with you," Brian Hummel wrote.

"As skilled and knowledgeable as you were, you where always the epitome of humility and professionalism," Paul Moriarty wrote.

Matt Farwell, Gary Marc Farwell's younger brother who followed in his brother's footsteps in joining the Army, said the posts about Gary Marc Farwell are completely accurate.

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