Friends, relatives gather for funeral of Green Beret slain in Syria
By ELIOT KLEINBERG | The Palm Beach Post | Published: February 18, 2019
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Friends and relatives of Jonathan Farmer privately said goodbye Monday to the Palm Beach County career soldier, killed last month in a suicide bombing.
The service at St. Patrick Catholic Church, which was closed to reporters, went for about an hour and a half and was both preceded and followed by full motorcycle escorts along Prosperity Farms Road by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and The Patriot Guard riders.
A giant U.S. flag was suspended several dozen feet in the air between two Palm Beach Gardens fire trucks and the entrance of the church, just south of Donald Ross Road. U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, was among the mourners.
Farmer was killed Jan. 16 in a bombing in northern Syria. His body arrived first on Jan. 19 at Dover Air Force Base and then Feb. 11 at Palm Beach International Airport and went by a motorcade to a Jupiter funeral home. He is scheduled for burial later this year at Arlington National Cemetery.
The 6-foot-4 Farmer, 37, was born in Boynton Beach, attended The Benjamin School, where he was a basketball standout, and was a graduate of Bowdoin College. He served multiple overseas combat tours and was awarded some of the U.S. Army's highest honors, including a Purple Heart and three Bronze Star medals, which are awarded for exceptional achievements in a combat zone.
Farmer had joined the military March 30, 2005, and attended training at Fort Benning in Georgia. He later was selected for the Army Special Forces, where he remained throughout his career, and was certified to take part in air assaults. Most recently, he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, in Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Since 2016, he'd worked as the assistant detachment commander at the Special Forces Warrant Officer Candidate School.
Farmer served in six overseas combat tours — in 2007 and 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2010 in support of Operation New Dawn, in 2012 for Operation Enduring Freedom and twice as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs office.
He is survived by his wife and four children, who are residents of the Nashville suburbs of Clarksville, Tennessee, and his parents, Duncan and Jobeth Farmer of Palm Beach Gardens.
Duncan Farmer said just after his death that his son had been in dangerous places "many times. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. Can't even count them."
He wrote The Palm Beach Post last week to "thank all the people of Palm Beach County and Florida who lined the roads, the bikers, the firemen, the Sheriff and his deputies, the Florida National Guard and all who stood with respect as the procession carrying Jon's body as it went from the airport to the funeral home. It was hugely appreciated as are the thousands who have said a prayer for Jon and for his family.
"It renews all our faith in America and Americans. God Bless them all."