Veteran of the Week: Sergeant Jay Kelly Fain, Jr (Ret)

Sergeant Jay Kelly Fain, Jr (Ret)


Sergeant Jay Kelly Fain, Jr (Ret) was born to Sergeant Major Jay Kelly Fain, Sr (Ret) and (Son Fain) on December 28, 1984. Along with his older sister (Kim Fain), Jay traveled world with his family while his father served in the US Army while on active duty, allowing Jay to explore different cultures and ideas to help shape him into the man he is today. Growing up Jay enjoyed playing Golf, baseball, soccer, basketball, football, and was a very intelligent child. As he grew, his love for being active and mentally stimulated never waned, and even as an adult finds himself setting new physically challenging personal records in one legged dead lifting and reaching out through the wounded veteran community to help inspire, motivate, and teach.

Jay graduated high school in 2003, and attended college and found himself eager to follow in not only his father’s footsteps but also his grandfather and uncles, explaining that his choice to join was due to family pride and continued legacy. But one of the biggest driving points for his decision to join was hearing that some of his friends who joined the US Marine Corps had died while in country in 2004 into 2005. In the summer of 2005 he enlisted as a E-3/PFC  in the US Army, completed basic, went through airborne school and received his jump wings, and then found himself at his first duty station in Germany, Jay found himself gearing up for deployment to Baghdad in 2006.

In 2006, he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. Having been in country for several months already, on June 26th 2007 he decided to head to Camp Taji with another platoon in order to process out for R & R to head home for two weeks, then planning to return to Iraq to complete his deployment. The tank platoon that was attached to his company was his ride to Camp Taji, he found himself in the fourth Humvee on the right side of the vehicle in the back. As they traveled they began to make their movements towards route Tampa, when the vehicle Jay was in, hit an IED/EFP. During the haze of confusion, Jay allowed for his training to kick in and began to search for his weapon… Not realizing that it had been destroyed in the blast, ultimately sending shrapnel from both the weapon and vehicle through portions of his leg. Jay was quickly assessed and found to be bleeding out from his right leg where the shrapnel had severed the Femoral artery in his groin, the medic on hand had to free the artery that retracted into the groin area by pulling it out to be exposed, clamped it to secure the blood flow, and in which secured him to be moved to the nearest aide station. Upon arrival at the aide station, Forward Operations Base (FOB) Justice located the Kadhimiya district of Baghdad, Jay was found to be internally bleeding and needed emergency surgery in order to save his life. During this time, the weather was noted to be unflyable for the black hawk squadrons from air traffic, which meant that Jay needed a miracle. Having to normally fly in pairs, a single black hawk traversed the weather in order to save Jay’s life – getting him safely to the Baghdad combat support hospital in order for him to receive emergency surgery. At this time, his father was in country having retired from active service and was deployed as a contractor; was able to go to the hospital where doctors were fighting to save his sons life. The surgical team made the decision to amputate the badly wounded right leg, successfully removed all pieces of shrapnel, ultimately saving Jay’s life. After multiple stops and flights Jay arrived at Brooke Army medical center where he undergone several surgeries for his amputation, burns and shrapnel wounds. During which time he transferred over to the Center for the intrepid where he went through rigorous physical therapy and recovery. He was outfitted with sever prosthetic devices and in less than a year of his arrival he was walking freely, independently and medically retired from the Army in July 2008.

Many of those that are closest to Jay will say that he is inspiring, well-natured, fun, and ultimately a loving man. Jay now enjoys traveling, public speaking, and playing golf. He is a self-taught golfer, having competed in many golf tournaments including the Warrior Open hosted by President Bush, 43rd. His portrait hangs in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, being painted by President Bush, 43; during his treatment and recovery. Jay now lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Soonee. He works at Rogue American Apparel as the Chief Executive Officer over Disciples of Iron.