Gary Cain’s Decorated Naval Career Lands Him in the GRHS Hall of Fame

Gary Cain’s Decorated Naval Career Lands Him in the GRHS Hall of Fame

SweetwaterNOW congratulates the Class of 2019 Green River High School Hall of Fame inductees. We will feature each inductee throughout the week leading up the banquet this weekend. GRHS Hall of Fame profiles are made possible by Tanner Family Dentistry.

Gary Cain

Gary Cain was born in Kansas in 1940 and has one half-sister and two half-brothers. Growing up, he was a batboy in father’s Little League and later participated in the league himself.

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Throughout his junior and high school years, he participated in football, basketball, and track. He lettered in all three sports in high school and also received all-state honors. Following high school, he was offered a football scholarship at Adams State University in Alamosa, CO.

While in the Navy in Hawaii Gary was member of Pearl Harbor Admirals football, basketball and baseball teams. In Guam, he played basketball, softball and was a member of the undefeated football team. He also earned All-Island honors in football.

While stationed in San Diego, he played football for the Naval Training Center and then played his final year of football for the Mesa College Olympians, receiving his letter at age thirty-four. When his playing days were over, Gary coached the station’s Little League baseball team.

Navy Assignments

Gary joined the Navy in 1958 immediately after graduating from Lincoln High School in Green River. He was appointed Master-At-Arms in boot camp at the Naval Recruit Depot in San Diego. He served as a Radio Striker (E2) on the USS Vammen DE644, a destroyer escort following boot camp.

Gary also served at Commander 14th Naval District via the USS Tom Green County LST 1159, a landing ship tanker in the Eastern Pacific.

As a radio operator with the Search and Rescue Coordination Center, he worked closely with the US Coast Guard, Civilian and USAF Search and Rescue Center from Hawaii to the West Coast of the U.S., north to the Gulf of Alaska and east midway between Guam and Hawaii.

At that point, Gary decided to make a career in the Navy. He served at the Naval Communications Station in Guam as Watch Supervisor in the Command Message Center and Section Traffic Checker.

Later Gary was promoted to Radioman First Class (E6) where he personally handled over a million messages without a single mishandling.

In partnership with Tanner Family Dentistry, we bring you these profiles of the inductees as we approach the Hall of Fame ceremony.


Gary was then ordered to Little Creek, Virginia for Survival, Escape, Rescue and Evasion (SERE) training in preparation to proceed to Vietnam. He was also assigned as Senior Petty Officer at that time.

Gary was assigned to the Naval Support Activity Danang as Radioman in Charge of Yard Repair 71, a floating platform to support swift boats and Coast Guard vessels protecting the waterway. Because of his outstanding work there, he was promoted to Radioman Chief Petty Officer (E7) and Chief in Charge of Communications unit 20 miles south of Danang.

Later in his career, Gary trained Coast Guard Communications personnel in the operation and aid provided to the Arctic Research Lab.

He became Chief in Charge of radio and satellite communications at Tarlac, Philippines as well as Chief Warrant Officer (CWO2) and Casualty Assistance Control Officer (CACO) while in the Philippines. Gary was then promoted to CWO3 and assigned to an anti-warfare communications unit to provide communications to P3C aircraft patrolling off the coast of the Eastern Pacific.

After 22 years of service, Gary decided to retire in 1980.

Master-at-Arms in Boot Camp
Letters of Appreciation or Commendation – eight
Good Conduct medals – three
Sailor of the Quarter – three
Sailor of the Year
Vietnam Service Medal
Navy Expeditionary Medal
Navy Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal

Green River Involvement

Gary’s was been actively involved in helping generate the Wall of Fame honoring former GRHS teachers who had been instrumental in training and encouraging the students for success in their adult lives.

He also worked with Mark Hoffmann on the idea of a weekly internet newsletter to interested former students to stay in contact with each other and report on their lives, GR memories, etc. This resulted in Mark’s issuance of the Mirth and Missives, now publishing nearly 900 weekly issues.

Along with Hoffmann, Gary came up with the idea of a Meeting on the Green for all former students of Lincoln High School. The first one was held on the island in the summer of 2003 with an attendance well over 100 people. It continued on changing locations to the Palisades until 2015.

Green River High School implemented their Hall of Fame to include teachers as well as accomplished graduates and city members. Gary is active in promoting this recognition.