Tuscaloosa World War II hero honored at the U.S. Navy Memorial

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A World War II hero from Alabama was honored in our nation’s capital Wednesday. Ward Wharton McFarland, a Tuscaloosa native was recognized for his outstanding service to the U.S. at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Ward Morrow McFarland Jr. remembered his father with a speech at the dedication ceremony of a plaque in his honor, with a group of Alabamians in attendance. His father, a World War II sailor, radioed intelligence to the British to expose German positions.

“The Germans didn’t like that and they put a torpedo into the side of his boat,” said McFarland, Jr.

Wharton survived the torpedo attack but did not return to battle, leaving on a medical discharge with a Purple Heart medal. But his service did not stop there as he voluntarily enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery when he returned home.

“He was a very interesting man of very many colorful backgrounds,” said McFarland, Jr.

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) also spoke about McFarland, saying his impact on the state continues today, more than 40 years after his passing.

“History will not soon forget the lifetime and the service of Mr. McFarland and his dedication to our country, and to the great state of Alabama,” said Aderholt at the ceremony.

Former Alabama Governor James Folsom Jr. attended the ceremony as well. McFarland worked as both docks director and highway director for Folsom’s father when he was governor.

“(I) did not exactly understand what they were talking about back then but I do now,” said Folsom, Jr.

Folsom says this national recognition is deserved. He says McFarland represents the best of Alabama.

“You couldn’t write the history of Alabama, especially West Alabama, without writing about Ward McFarland,” said Folsom.

This is not the first honor for McFarland. In 1979 after his passing, the Alabama Senate commemorated him as one of the state’s most outstanding and contributing citizens.

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