By Gabby Gamez
Life can change in a matter of minutes. This was the case for Michael Fainney, who was attending college majoring in automotive mechanics. Once Fainney heard of the draft, he knew it was only a matter of time before they called his number. He went ahead and volunteered.
Serving for three years, from 1972-1975, in the Army, Fainney said basic training was the worst memory that he has from the military. “Basic training was hell. Drill sergeants were hard, but they were preparing us to go to Vietnam,” said Fainney. He also had the rank of an E4 upon entering the military.
Once basic training was over, Fainney was stationed in Germany where he was able to see the scenery of Germany, Italy, Sweden, France, and Spain. Fainney said, “I had a buddy who had a car, and we would drive to whatever new location we wanted that day.”
Even though the military allowed him to see the European countries, Fainney mentions that the military, “taught me to have purpose to achieve things, and do the best that I could do.”
With all the exploring of the new land where he was stationed, Fainney still had thoughts that troubled him about being in the military during wartime. Fainney said, “I had to face the fact that if I went into combat, I would have to kill someone.” It was a thought that bothered him and the possibility of being stationed in Vietnam.
During his three years in the military, Fainney was awarded a medal for being an expert in rifle and hand grenade tossing. He also received a combat medal and was a qualified expert marksman. Upon discharge the first thing Fainney said he did was, “sit in the grass and smoke a cigarette.” He is still staying in touch with a buddy from the service who is currently living in Oklahoma.
Fainney has lived in the veterans’ home for 13 years and loves being able to watch his favorite sport of NASCAR, though Fainney always make time to watch his John Wayne westerns when they come on.
Gabby Gamez is a junior majoring in communication. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.