From World War II vet to Mosley High School principal

LYNN HAVEN, Fla.(WJHG) - Marvin McCain had just been accepted into Auburn University when he got a letter in the mail saying college would have to wait.

It was 1943 when he joined 98 other young men for Army basic training.

"I was in the 90th Reinforcement 3rd Army with the great General George Patton," said McCain.

After months of training, his unit was ready for orders.

"Most people don't know a lot about how fighting is or how war goes," said McCain. "They think you grab a gun and go shoot. But that's just the beginning. It takes six soldiers to keep one person on the front lines and that's what the reinforcement is the 90th Reinforcement Battalion."

While Corporal McCain was not on the front lines, he was close. His unit was in charge of setting up communication from the front lines on to the general.

"We had to be on the move all the time," said McCain.

They were the first to show up in a new location and often had to sleep on the ground, sometimes in the mud, until more reinforcements arrived.

"340801617. I'll never forget that number," said McCain. "It was my number."

While his unit set up communications, a makeshift hospital would move in and then a food tent.

When asked if he'd ever met General Patton, "Saw him, but never got to say anything to him," said McCain. "He said a lot to us. He's very rough with his speeches but we didn't mind. He got us going."

McCain made sure those on the front lines had what they needed.

"We had to get things to them as soon as they lost 'em, including soldiers, water, food, clothes," explained McCain.

He's never considered himself part of the greatest generation.

"No, I didn't think about it until I began to hear it, and I knew that we had a great bunch of people from being with them."

When the war was over and his unit was getting ready to head back home, they discovered the war trials at Nuremberg were taking place just ten miles from their camp. McCain and another soldier took off toward the city and were given permission to sit in. Some of which he chronicles in a book he and his wife co-wrote.

McCain decided not to make the Army a career.

"I came out as soon as I could. That was three years. I didn't hate the Army. It wasn't what I wanted."

What Mr. McCain did want was to teach. After teaching at Jinks Middle School in the 1950's, he moved to vice principal, then served as principal in West Bay and Callaway.

He ended his education career as the very first principal of Mosley High. After nearly ten years in that post, he decided it was time to retire.

His wife didn't agree.

That's when he started a third career. This time in real estate and then development. He is the man behind the Mowat Highlands development in Lynn Haven.

McCain and his wife have been married for 66 years.