- Staff Sergeant
- WW II
Edmund (Ed) Joseph Fay was born in 1915 in Cranston, Rhode Island. He was the son of James and Evelyn Fay. Ed was a 1933 graduate of La Salle Academy, Providence, Rhode Island. He was an honor student and stellar athlete. He entered Rhode Island State College in September 1933 with the class of 1937 majoring in Agriculture and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He played varsity baseball, signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox; and after a tour in the minor league, joined them as a regular player. He also played varsity basketball and was a member of the Rhode Island Club, the Aggie Club, Debate Team and participated in the Army ROTC program.
Ed enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on 28 January 1942. Private Edmund J. Fay graduated from the five week U.S. Army Air Force Basic Training at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi, and the six-week Arial Gunnery School, Harlingen Army Air Field, Harlingen, Texas, where he was awarded his “Gunners Wings” upon graduation in January 1943. Gunnery practice was carried out by having the student’s fire at a sleeve target towed by a single engine AT-6 Texan plane. Private Fay was assigned to the 64th Bomber Squadron, 43th Bomber Group, Allied Air Forces, Southeast Pacific Area.
The 64th Bomber Squadron was based in the Philippines with the missions of supporting U.S. forces on Luzon, as well as conducting long-range strategic bombing missions against targets in China and Formosa. On 5 August 1944, SSgt. Fay volunteered to take the place of a fellow sergeant who was sick. The mission was to bomb enemy targets on the Ceram Island, Indonesia. As his B-24 Liberator dropped its bombs on the target, the formation was subjected to enemy aircraft fire; and his plane was severely damaged. One parachute was observed to emerge from the damaged aircraft before it fell to the earth. SSgt. Fay was killed during the air battle.
Staff Sergeant Edmund Joseph Fay, U.S. Army Air Forces was cited for Gallantry in Action and awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Medal. (Posthumously)
Citation – Air Medal
The Commanding General, Lieutenant General George C. Kenney, United States Army Allied Air Forces of the United States of America, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Medal to Staff Sergeant Edmund J. Fay, U.S. Army Air Forces, for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States while serving as a Mitchell B-25 tail gunner, Allied Air Forces, Pacific Theater, 64th Bomber Squadron, 43th Bomb Group World War II.
Staff Sergeant Edmund J. Fay, U.S. Army Air Forces, heroic and fearless actions during hostile contact has reflected the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.
When the University of Rhode Island Memorial Union was dedicated on 13 November 1954, in honor of Alumni and Students who fought for their country and as a living memorial to those who died in its service, the Memorial Union’s Meeting Room was dedicated to the memory of Staff Sergeant Edmund Joseph Fay, ’37 by a gift from his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James A. Fay:
In Remembrance “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”
Staff Sergeant Edmund Joseph Fay, U.S. Army Air Forces, is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines. In 1945, the Pawtuxet Reservation, Cranston, Rhode Island where Fay spent many hours playing baseball was dedicated to his memory as the “Edmund J. Fay Field.”
Sergeant Edmund J. Fay, U.S. Army Air Forces, was a hero in defeating the Japanese Forces during World War II. He was a son of Rhode Island and America who answered the call to duty and gave his life during World War II. He was a member of the “Greatest Generation.”