John Warren Fair was born on November 19, 1920, in Big Point Mississippi, son of Cecil Roscoe and Katrine (Jones) Fair. He attended Hillsdale (Michigan) College, and from April 1940 to April 1941 had enlisted service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He enlisted in the US Navy on April 16, 1941, and on June 2, that year was appointed Aviation Cadet, US Naval Reserve. After flight training at the Naval Air Stations, Pensacola, and Miami, Florida, he was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on October 16, 1941 and designated naval Aviator, June 12, 1942. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from July 1, 1961, having transferred to the US Navy on August 25, 1946.
After receiving his “Wings” in 1942, he had duty as an Instructor at the Naval Air Station, Cecil Field, Florida, until August 1942, when he transferred, in a similar capacity, to the Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, Minnesota. In September 1943 he became Engineering Officer of Fighting Squadron THIRTEEN and in February 1944 reported as Engineering and Flight Officer of Fighting Squadron EIGHTY. While serving in that capacity, he was awarded the Silver Star medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medal. The citations follow in part:
Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Pilot of a Fighter Plan in Fighting Squadron EIGHTY, attached to the USS Hancock, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Tokyo Area on February 16, 1945… (He) pressed home repeated strafing runs against aircraft and installations in the face of intense antiaircraft fire, destroying on hostile plane on the ground…”
Distinguished Flying Cross: “…Assigned as a section leader for the Air Group and Fighter Squadrons Commander, (he) regularly conducted fighter sweeps; rescue combat air patrol; fighter escort covering coordinated air-group strikes against both land and sea targets; long range search; target combat air patrols; combat air patrols over the Force; close air support and bombing and strafing attacks against heavily defended enemy-held territory in the Philippines, French Indo China, Iwo Jima, the Ryukyu Islands, Formosa and the home islands of japan…”
Air Medal: “… When his formations was attacked by hostile planes he destroyed one and damaged another of the enemy craft and, continuing to render valuable service, pressed home attacks on enemy planes and ground installations despite severe antiaircraft fire and aerial opposition…”
Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal “…. Participating in numerous strafing and bombing missions, (he) destroyed three enemy planes on the ground and scored direct bomb hits on the runway of a major enemy airfield and a large railway warehouse..”
He is also entitles to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the navy Unit Commendation awarded the USS Hancock.
In June 1945 he joined Fighting Squadron SVENTY-FIVE as Executive Officer and from April to December 1947 was under instruction at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. He next attended the U.S Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, for the following year. In December 1948 he was assigned to Fighter Squadron NINETY-TWO as Executive officer and later assumed command of Fighter Squadron SEVENTY-FOUR. He was Assistant Bureau of Aeronautics Representative and Contract Administrator in Detroit, Michigan during the period August 1951 until August 1953, when he reported as Air Officer of the USS Bennington.
In August 1955 he became Officer in Charge of Advance Training Unit 293 at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Beeville, Texas, and in October 1957 assumed command of Air Group ONE. He was Training Officer on the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, Jacksonville, with headquarters at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, until July 1959, after which he had instruction at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He reported as head of the Aviation Planning Requirements Branching the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., and while in Washington, received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University in June 1964. In September 1964 he assumed command of the USS Arcturus (AF-52).
He had instruction under the Advanced Management program at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from August to December 1965, and in January 1966 reported as Assistant Chief of Staff for Readiness to Commander naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He assumed command of the USS Intrepid (CVS-11) in September 1966. For service in that capacity he was awarded the Legion of Merit and cited as follows:
“… For consistently demonstrating outstanding professional skill and leadership while directing combat operations for Intrepid, her air wing, and escorts against Viet Cong military forces in South Vietnam and against logistics installations and lines of communications in North Vietnam…”
In July 1968 he joined the Staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
In addition to the Silver Star Medal; the Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Gold Star and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Captain Fair has the American Defense Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupations Service Medal, Europe Clasp; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Vietnam Service Medal with one star; Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the Republic of Vie-Nam Campaign Ribbon with Device.
Captain Fair’s official address is 1162 Buckingham Road, Grosse Pointe, Michigan. His wife is the former Gloria Watkins of Grosse Pointe, and they have two sons, Jeffery W. and William K. Fair.
Captain Fair is a member of the American Fighter Aces Association, Lions Club International, and Armed Forces Management Association.