The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, CPT Frederick M. Fair, o-362042, who died in the service of his country on February 5th, 1945 in Luzon. The cause of death was listed as KIA. At the time of his death Frederick was 28 years of age. He was from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The decorations earned by CPT Frederick M. Fair include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
CAPT. FAIR DESTROYS A JAPANESE TANK WITH A BAZOOKA
4-5 February 1945
First Lt. Paul W. Casper, S-2 for the 3rd Battalion during the Battle of Lupao, recalled that on the morning of 4 February 1945 the 3rd Battalion had begun its attack on the southeast corner of Lupao. Company I was advancing on the west side and Company K was moving on the east side of Highway 8. Company L waited to the rear in battalion reserve and established a temporary road block, placing a 37mm anti-tank gun on either side of the highway. The 3rd Battalion Headquarters was located in the Company L area.
First Lt. Casper and an intelligence section of 8-9 men were advancing from the Company L area along Highway 8 toward the front lines and were about 300-400 yards in front of the Company L road block. A Japanese tank suddenly came out of the south side Lupao at 0900, broke through the front lines, and raced down the highway in the direction of San Isidro. The tank came right at them and 1st Lt. Casper and his men threw themselves into the ditches on either side of the road. The tank raced by and rapidly approached the Company L roadblock. The two 37mm anti-tank guns fired a number of armor-piercing rounds at the approaching tank, hitting it a number of times, but not stopping it. The tank then left the highway and veered toward the 37mm gun on the west side of the road. The gun crew jumped out of the way at the last moment and the tank ran over the gun, putting it out of action. The tank continued along the side of the road and appeared about to complete its escape. Fortunately, there were no casualties among the gun crew.
L Company Commander Capt. Frederick M. Fair jumped up from his foxhole near the highway, grabbed a bazooka and a bazooka round from one of his men, and ran after the escaping tank. Loading on the run, he fired a bazooka round into the back of the tank and the tank immediately caught fire. At that point, the tank driver either lost control of the burning tank or tried to return to the highway, tumbled into the ditch along the side of the road, and tipped on its side.
Pfc. Donald E. Long, a 1st Scout from one of L Company's rifle platoons, recalled that he and several other riflemen were in foxholes about 25 yards east of the road when the tank tipped over. He saw the turret hatch pop open and he and the other riflemen laid down covering fire on the hatch. Pfc. Long thought he hit the first Japanese crewmember who tried to get out, because he ducked back in. Then "all hell broke loose" as the ammunition in the burning tank started to go off. The tank became an exploding inferno and he did not see anyone get out.
One crewmember is known to have gotten out. It would have to have been either the driver or machine-gunner who escaped from a front hatch before he, too, was shot and killed. There were no survivors.
Pfc. Long added that Capt. Fair was killed by another Japanese tank on the following day, on 5 February. Company L was to the left of Company K when it ran into six dug-in and camouflaged Japanese tanks with supporting machine-guns. Pfc. Long hit the ground next to Sgt. "Jeeter" Jones when a machine-gun bullet struck S/Sgt. Richard L. "Jeeter" Jones in the forehead, killing him instantly. Captain Fair was standing on a rise behind them, talking on the radio and calling M7 fire onto the tanks. One of the tanks was able to lower its gun enough to hit him with a round of high explosive, blowing him apart. What was left of his body had to be collected from the battlefield.
Sources: Casper, 1st Lt. Paul W. Telephone interview, 3 April 1996; Long, Pfc. Donald E. Letters, 5 July 2000 and 28 May 2001; and McKinney, Pfc. John J., Jr. Letter, 17 September 1997. (Perry Ball)