Social media helps friends, family attend funeral of Navy Veteran Farrell Corley

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 6:39 PM CST
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ELGIN, Okla. (KSWO) - A Navy veteran was laid to rest at Fort Sill National Cemetery Tuesday, surrounded by friends, family and community members paying their respects.

Navy Commander Farrell Corley was originally listed as an unclaimed veteran, but thanks to the power of social media, family and friends that previously couldn’t be located were in attendance.

As a result, Tuesday we were able to learn more about the military career of Corley and, more importantly, the man he was.

“As spectacular as all of his achievements are, they pale in comparison to him as a man. As a human being,” said Retired Captain John Keilty Jr., who served with Corley. “Ladies and gentlemen, Farrell Corley was good. Only the best get to fly the F-14 Tomcat.”

Corley was from Elk City and graduated from the University of Oklahoma before joining the Navy and becoming a fighter pilot. He spent the next six consecutive years stationed first on the USS Independence and then on the USS Kitty Hawk, before deciding to become a test pilot.

After achieving that honor, Corley went back to the sea and served on the USS Vinson.

“Farrell was a great man, he’s one of the best pilots the United States Navy had in those days, he flew the F-14. But most of all he’s just a great man. He was a man of great character, a man of selfless service. He had the indomitable American fighting spirit, that’s the way I describe Farrell Corley,” Keilty said.

Keilty and several of Corley’s childhood friends found out about this funeral thanks to the power of social media.

“We went through a lot with Farrell, he was one of our good friends, we just heard about this yesterday. It was short notice, social media was passing it around. Danny called me at my house and called Bill, we decided to come pay tribute to Farrell since we hadn’t seen him in a long time,” said Corley’s childhood friend Randy Haggard.

“I was like a lot of people here, I heard yesterday that he was unclaimed so to speak. They hadn’t found his family yet. I said doggonit I need to get up there because I need to make sure that somebody talks about Farrell and the significant contribution he made to America’s defense,” Keilty said.

Those loved ones joined countless others who never met Corley but came to honor him.

“It means a lot to come out and show these veterans, and the community as well, that we have great respect for what they give up and what they’ve done for our country in maintaining our freedoms we enjoy each and every day,” said Steve Rose with the Patriot Guard Riders.

And for those who came and said their goodbyes, they’ll always have memories.

“I can picture walking to the jet right now with him. We had a brief and it was concise, and it was let’s roll, I feel the need for speed. That was Farrell Corley. That’s the man I remember,” Keilty said.

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