Henry Fairfax Ayres was born on April 23, 1886 at Oak Hill, Loudoun County, Virginia. His parents were Charles Greenleaf Ayres and Elizabeth Fairfax. He attended the Virginia Military Institute as a member of the Class of 1906 and subsequently graduated from the United States Military Academy, Class of 1908. He served as Lieutenant Colonel in the field artillery of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. After the war he worked as an investment banker in New York City, trading on Wall Street during the boom years of the 1920's, and pursued his avocation as a pilot. In 1937 he moved to Vermont. There he was the legal committee chairman of the Vermont Sugar Makers Association, and was an inventor, environmentalist, and civic leader. He reentered military service as a Colonel in the Air Force following the outbreak of World War II, overseeing the convoying of pilots and flight crews to the Pacific and European theaters of operation. He served at Milne Bay, New Guinea in 1944 and in Rome and Anzio, Italy in 1945. In 1945 he was injured in a PT boat reconnaissance raid in the Dover Strait. Ayres died in Vermont on January 9, 1979, aged 92, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.