GOOSE LINDSAY/Roane Newspapers
Fred McCorkle, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general and Harriman High School graduate, thanks his classmates for dedicating a bench in his honor at David Webb Riverfront Park.

Fred McCorkle had a simple goal while growing up in Harriman.

He wanted to drive a coal truck.

“I never figured I’d make it through to graduate,” McCorkle confessed on Sunday.

“I used to watch the coal trucks head to Oliver Springs and I thought if I could be good enough to drive one of them, then I’d be happy.”

Instead, he became one of the most decorated naval aviators in history en route to becoming a three-star lieutenant general in the United States Marine Corps.