Faes Jr., Frederick F.



Faes Jr., Frederick F.


Frederick F. Faes Jr.


Terry Frikken


Fred played instruments early in life, especially in school. He attended McKenzie High School, where he won a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology. One of Fred's first jobs was playing in nightclubs. Early in World War II, Fred worked for Ford Motor Company and was not allowed to enlist because he was a required worker. Then, in August 1942, Fred was drafted and went to Ft. Custer for basic training. He was classified as a musician and posted with the 523rd Air Force Band, which was also known as the 23rd Army Air Force Band. The band was stationed at Camp Shanks, New York, and was on duty to play for the men boarding troop transport ships, bound for Europe and Africa. When his band was shipped out, no one was there to play for them. The ship that Fred was on went first to La Havre, to drop off infantry troops. The band disembarked with them, and then found out they were supposed to go to England. They had to re-board and continue on to Southampton. He spent most of the war playing at hospitals and dances, but very rarely played for big name entertainers. They generally brought their own bands. During his time in England, Fred had the opportunity to travel the country. He discussed the devastation of London and surrounding countryside, the shortages of everything, and the courage of the British people. He was based in Manchester at the Base Air Dept #2, which was an arming stop for incoming planes flown by WACs. He was on base the day of the Freckelton RAF accident, when an RAF pilot lost control of his plane, and it crashed on the base. Fred talked about an unspoken privilege system, which regular soldiers felt that the band members had. Fred's wife, Helen, was his high school sweetheart. She, along with his parents and siblings, wrote to him often. He remembers having to reply to letters by writing in the latrine, for light and quiet. Fred played the saxophone, trumpet, clarinet and flute. He came home from the war in 1945, and married Helen. Fred took a job teaching music at Dearborn's Salina Jr. High School, starting in 1950-51. He continued to teach there for 32 more years. Fred lost touch with most of his war-time friends but keeps a significant scrapbook of photos taken by others and him.

Date Span

Dates of Service


Enlisted; United States Army Air Forces/Corps; 392nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force; World War, 1939-1945; Second World War - European Theater; Lieutenant Colonel; Prisoner of War


Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Collection Location


Spatial Coverage

Second World War - European Theater

Item sets