Tech Sgt. Frank C. Ferrel, Class of 1936, was finally laid to rest in Sylvester, TX in April, almost exactly 80 years after he was killed in action during World War II.
Ferrel served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the war. He was killed in action when his plane was shot down over Ploesti, Romania during a bombing run as part of Operation Tidal Wave on August 1, 1943. For decades, he was listed as missing in action and his body was never recovered. This January, through the advancements made in DNA testing, Tech Sgt. Ferrel was finally identified and his remains were returned to U.S. soil. He was buried in Sylvester, TX on April 7, 2023.
A 21-gun salute, the playing of ‘Taps’, a flag-draped casket, his fellow Army soldiers as pallbearers, and the calm gentle breeze of the Texas countryside accompanied the somber service. A folded flag and the medals and honors that would have been awarded to Ferrel were bestowed upon his niece and nephew during the ceremony.
A sense of closure was imparted on them as well, as his final resting place is next to his mother, who passed away never knowing the fate of her son.
Frank Cross Ferrel was born February 12, 1912 in Sylvester, TX. When he was a McMurry student, Ferrel played on the basketball team and won All-Conference Honors. He received his B.S. degree in 1936. In the intervening years between his graduation from McMurry and his eventual joining of the Army, he was a teacher, coach, and principal at Goodman, Lueders, and Plains High Schools respectively, and married in 1941.
Frank Ferrel joins a long and distinguished list of McMurry alumna who served their country and those who were killed in action. A grateful nation and a grateful university welcomed Tech Sgt. Ferrel back home and thank him for his sacrifice. His death is now a solemn pride for his family who—in the words of President Lincoln—laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.