Panola native retires from USAF with honors

Published 9:27 am Saturday, January 11, 2020

“Dex” McCain is 1987 SP grad

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Batesville native Edwin Dexter McCain, after serving on active duty for 26 years with the United States Air Force, retired November 8.

With family, friends, and longtime colleagues in attendance, McCain enjoyed a retirement ceremony held in the Hoover Auditorium at Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.  It was at the same location of his first Change of Command ceremony in 2010

Lt. Col. “Dex” McCain’s military service spans 30 years, as he also served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1987 to 1990. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

His service also includes a one-year deployment to Baghdad, Iraq in 2012, supporting the Office of Security Cooperation in their security assistance mission, which was intent on maintaining progress and rebuilding the Iraqi Air Force.

Another highlight of his achievements include the completion of a stateside deployment at U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), which is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. There, Lt. Col. McCain was the Afghanistan Desk Officer for the USCENTCOM Security Cooperation Branch.

A 1987 South Panola High School graduate, McCain credits the support and positivity he gathered in those formative years as a student, to some of his success.

“Things we were doing in the student council, things that we were doing in the band, I think everybody in Panola County really supported that,” he said.  “Just the encouragement I got from my teachers at South Panola during that period.  They challenged us to go and do some great things out there in the community – and in the world.”

During his time at South Panola, the  community helped support the band’s trip to the Cotton Bowl., and to the Presidential Classroom, a high school program that allows students to spend a week in Washington D.C., McCain remembers.

“I think for me personally, growing up on a farm in a rural community – in a church-centered community, was really good for me,” he said.  “I grew up in the Concord Community.  As we say, ‘across the river,’ down Curtis Road.  My mom still lives there, and my sisters and brother.”

Following graduation at SP, McCain earned a degree at Ole Miss.

“I always remember that It was a great community that really did an effort in trying to support students, and expose them to different aspects of life,” McCain said.

He lives near Montgomery, with his wife Yolanda, and their twin daughters, Hannah and Hope.

In the family photo above, taken during the reception, pictured is (from left) Arnetta Brown, Hannah G. McCain, Lt. Col. Dex McCain, John G. McCain, Hope McCain, Eric McCain, Yolanda McCain,  Yvette Winfield, Phyllis Draper, Charles McCain,  Cynthia McCain-Bishop and Earnestine C. McCain (seated).

In another photo, Brig. Gen. Rodney D. Lewis, Deputy Director for Operations, Operations Team One, National Joint Operations and Intelligence Center, the Pentagon  presented Lt. Col.  McCain with his 6th Meritorious Service Medal.