MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A retired Maryville Air Force Veteran who served in three separate wars says he’s sharing his story for all of those who can’t.
Retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant George Dillon, 95, was born and raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia.
He said growing up his family didn’t have electricity or an indoor bathroom, but they made the most out of their situation.
“We were rich in one way, and we were poor in another,” he said.
At 17, he decided to go into the military to avoid the coal mines.
“It’s a completely different way of life,” He stated. “They’ll make a man out of you or either drive you out, one or the other.”
Dillon joined the Army Air Corps and then the Air Force where he served in three different conflicts.
“I was in during World War II, I volunteered in November of ’45, I was in until April of ’72,” he explained. “All active duty. That’s World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam.”
He was a medic in the Second World War and the Korean War and said the only combat he saw was in Vietnam,
“The day I got there, there was a lightning storm going on and I didn’t know whether it was war or lightning.”
“I was scared to death,” he said through tears. “And if they tell you they’re not scared, they’re lying, because that will get your attention.”
“No one wins in war. No one.”
Dillon shares his story for those soldiers who cannot and will not share theirs.
“If you don’t talk about it, it will eat you up inside,” he said. “It will kill you.”
While he was in the military, he met the love of his life, Benedetta “Betty” Dillon.
“I was married 60 years to one woman,” he stated. “She passed away 17 years ago, and I have five children.”
Dillon said he’s proud of his children and his country.
He holds on to those memories and still has items such as his medic card, badges, dog tags, and uniforms. To him, it’s a reminder to never forget.
Dillon resides at Brookdale Sandy Springs Senior Living Community where he’s an ambassador and shows new guests around the facility.
He also likes to collect arrowheads and says he has many unique pieces in his collection.