Taps for an Officer & Gentleman

Louis Bryan Fields was born in Boston and grew up in East Hartford, Connecticut, dubbed the Aviation Capital of the World at the time; it undoubtedly triggered his love for aviation from the start. As a child, Lou enjoyed making balsa wood, rubber band powered planes while witnessing heavy aviation activity from the likes of Pratt & Whitney, Chance Vought and other entities. Lou took his first flight in a JN-4 Jenny at the age of 11 from a dirt strip located where the Pentagon is now. Lou attended Fork Union Military Academy where he graduated as class president in 1939. He was then appointed to the Naval Academy at Annapolis by Senator Danaher, through competitive examination in 1940 and was graduated in 1943. He went on to serve as the youngest officer and navigator on the U.S.S. Knapp, part of Admiral "Bull" Halsey's fleet, where he served in most major WWII sea battles from 1943 to 1945. After the war, Lou persistently lobbied to become a pilot, and eventually he won his wings in 1950. Very soon thereafter, he became the skipper of VF-41 where he helped develop and train the squadron for combat, flying Corsairs. He then flew practically every fixed wing aircraft the navy had and finished his career flying jets including the F4 Demon until he retired as Commander in 1969. During his service he was awarded the following: China Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal — 9 Stars, Victory Medal (WWII), American Defense Service Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense American Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam).