‘Warhawk’ Battalion co-founder buried Tuesday

By Michelle Mann mmann@southeastsun.com

  • 1 September 2015
  • Author: Admin Assistant
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‘Warhawk’ Battalion co-founder buried Tuesday
Fairchild exemplified the true meaning of the title lst Sgt., said longtime Daleville City Schools Superintendent Frank Moore. “He was perfect for the position, great in what he did,” Moore said. “He was just the typical 1st Sgt.”Fairchild and the late Lt. Col. John Anderson co-founded the Daleville High School JROTC in 1971 after both men had retired from active duty. Since its inception, the "Warhawk Battalion" has earned the title of Honor Unit with Distinction over 90 percent of that time.“The JROTC program at Daleville has a great reputation and still stands upon and builds upon the reputation that the Anderson/Fairchild team fostered there,” said former Daleville Sun-Courier editor, now City of Enterprise Special Projects Coordinator, Kay Kirkland. “He and Col. Anderson really introduced me to what a high school JROTC program was all about.“I'd come from a high school that didn't have such a program so I knew very little about it,” Kirkland added. “They really took me in and gave me a glimpse into why that JROTC program was so successful from the start.”Moore was a second year teacher at Daleville High School when Anderson and Fairchild came on board. “We were excited when they came to start the program,” Moore said Monday afternoon. “They were both very well respected and made a great team.”Daleville City Councilman and Fort Rucker-Wiregrass Chapter of the Association of the United States Army Executive Secretary Bob Slagle agreed. “My son, Rob, I’m proud to say, is a product of the program that lst Sgt. Fairchild and Col. Anderson established,” he said. “The cadets loved them and they loved the cadets back.”“First Sgt. Fairchild taught me the value of excellence in everything that I do,” said Rob Slagle, now a programmer analyst at Alfa Insurance Company in Montgomery.“He impacted so many lives,” said former DHS JROTC Cadet Regina McKerlie Howard, who was also a former neighbor of the Fairchilds, in a post on a DHS alumni Facebook page. “A fond childhood memory that will always stay with me is during Halloween he would pass out popcorn and a smile. He truly loved to do for the neighborhood kids.”“A great man, leader and mentor,” is how Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union’s AVP IT and Storage Solutions—and former DHS JROTC cadet—Jimmy Smith described Fairchild. “But more importantly he was my friend.”Fairchild was “small in stature but when he spoke you listened and his voice demanded respect,” Smith recalled Monday evening. “He mentored many kids in his time at Daleville and I am happy to say that my life was better for knowing and serving under him,” Smith said. “He taught me how to be a leader and to lead by example.“You never ask those under you to do something that you’re not willing to do,” Smith added. “His words and living example taught me how to be the manager I am today.”When Anderson and Fairchild retired from DHS in 1992, many of their former cadets joined in the ceremony honoring the two men. “I know that many, many young men and women became better citizens because of Sgt. Fairchild and Col. Anderson,” said Kirkland, who covered the event as a reporter.“They were very well respected by not only the students but the faculty and the community,” Kirkland said. “The cadets loved him (Fairchild) and he loved them back, but he was firm and it seemed to me that he didn't waiver when it came to teaching military values like character and leadership.”That is true, agreed retired Lt. Col. Jim Duhaime, who served as DHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor after Anderson. “He was very approachable and always went the extra mile for his students but he was extremely firm and had high expectations of them.”“He never was content with anything short of our best,” posted former DHS JROTC cadet John A. Badger on the DHS alumni Facebook page. “He was a phenomenal mentor, leader and friend.”“1st Sgt. Fairchild affected so many lives in a positive manner,” posted former DHS JROTC cadet Alvin Ford. “He also demanded excellence from those around him.“That was just the expectations instilled in all of us for the program,” Ford continued. “Rest in peace, sir, you really made your time here count.”
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