Tennessee man recalls three generations of family service

Milan, TN

George Fain's friend Bobby Adams returned home from the Marines decked out with gear and a sharp, crisp green uniform. Fain took that sight in and discovered a new direction.

"And that sold me on the Marine Corps," Fain said. He served in the Pacific as a Marine throughout the islands surrounding Pearl Harbor. He tried to sign up once, but too young (and too small to pass as older) he was told to wait. He did, until he was 17, at which point he got his father Van L. Fain, a veteran of World War I (who George said served as a machine gun platoon leader in France), to sign consent.

"I wasn't big I was little and skinny," he said. "Well of course I was hungry when I first went in the Marine Corps and they fed pretty good. We were starving to death back here ... in the mountains of east Tennessee."

Beginning in 1946, he served at Quantico and six months with "an engineering outfit" at and around Pearl Harbor. He was discharged from there, and decided to go into a reserve unit in Millington, Tenn., where he served until December 1948.

Fain finished school and worked with Milan, Tenn., water operations for nearly three decades before retiring.

But he remained committed to the military. He joined the Army National Guard in 1949. With it, he served the Volunteer State and surrounding areas.

"The major thing we did with the Tennessee Guard was set up a military training center located in Milan, Tenn., on some property adjacent to the army ammunition plant," he said.

He served at that training center the last 15 or so years of his time in the National Guard.

His son Dan A. Fain volunteered for duty in Vietnam. He served primarily with an attack helicopter company as a door gunner, Fain said. He received a Distinguished Flying Cross. After he returned stateside he eventually trained as military police and was assigned to Army headquarters in Seoul, Korea, finally joining the Memphis police force.

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