John Fischer Fagan, Jr., was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on November 17, 1924, son of John F. and Odile Meyer Fagan. He attended Holy Cross College High School and Tulane University, both in New Orleans, and while a student at Tulane was a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit from September 1940 until July 1942. Appointed Midshipman, he entered the U.S Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, in July 1942, a member of the Class of 1946, which graduated on June 6, 1945 (accelerated course due to war). Standing fifth in a class of 1049 members, he also stood first in Electrical Engineering, and was commissioned Ensign in the US Navy to date from June 6. 1945. Through subsequent advancement he attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander, to date from March 1, 1957.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1945, he was attached briefly to the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, for familiarization, then from July through December of that year was under instruction at the US Naval Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. This was followed early in 1946 by instruction at the Fleet Sonar School, San Diego, California, and his assignment in March 1946 to the USS Cabrilla (SS-288). He had duty as Assistant Engineer and Communicator of that submarine until she was decommissioned in June 1946.
From July 1946 until January 1948 he served on board the USS Diablo (SS-479) as First Lieutenant, Assistant Engineer, Communications Officer and Commissary Officer, and made the cruise around Cape Horn in 1947. For nine months he was attached to the US Navy Administrative Unit, Sandia Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, first under instruction in the Field Command of the Armed Special Weapons project, alter working with the US Army’s 38th Engineer Battalion and the 8460th Special Weapons Group of the US Air Force. He remained at Sandia base from October 1948 until August 1949 as Section Supervisor (Assembly Team) of the Navy Weapons Unit, # 471.
Ordered to sea, he served from August 1949 until June 1950, as Gunnery and Torpedo Officer of the USS Dogfish (SS-350), then had a year’s instruction at the Naval Postgraduate School, followed by two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received a Master of Science degree in Physics in June 1953. Again, at sea, he served for eleven months as Engineer Officer of the USS Sirago (SS-485), with four months duty each as Acting Executive Officer and Navigator; and from May 1954 until October 1955 as executive Officer and Navigator of the USS Vallao (SS-368).
He returned to the Submarine School, New London, in October 1955, and for two years was Assistant Director of the Engineering Department and Instructor in Reactor Engineering, Advanced Nuclear Power Course, after assisting in the establishment of the Nuclear Power Curriculum at the School. In October 1957 he was ordered to the USS Blenny (USS- 324) and became Commanding Officer of that submarine on November 7, 1957.
Lieutenant Commander Fagan has the American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; and the Expert Rifleman Medal.