By Paul D. Prince
ASA M&RA/ Army G-1 Public Affairs Office
July 07, 2017
WASHINGTON — Many individuals who have earned the
title "Soldier' came to join the U.S. Army after witnessing commercials, billboards, watching world events on the
news or even due to the influence of a family member
who served. For retired Lt. Col. Larry McCarthy, his decision
to consider military service was not a result of his father's
legacy but the inspiring stories told by his great uncle,
who retired from service at Fort Lewis, Wash. in 1947.
Today, McCarthy continues in his uncle's "footsteps' by leveraging any chance he gets to share his personal
accounts of life in the U.S. Army. Just this past February,
the proud retired colonel spoke to 7th and 8th grade
students during the Hocker
Grove Middle School Career
Fair in Shawnee, Kan.
"My dad served in the U.S.
Army Air Corps in World War
II, but he didn't talk much
about his service," McCarthy
said. "However, my great
uncle Frank Scahill's stories
of military service and the
people and situations he
had to deal with both in
combat and in training were very special to me. I think
that is what motivated me to serve."
Scahill was a World War I Silver Star recipient and retired
as the post sergeant major at Fort Lewis, Wash. in 1947,
according to McCarthy. About 23 years later, the sergeant
major's stories resonated with his nephew and inspired him
to enlist in the Army at Kansas City, Mo., in February 1970.
During the third quarter of the school year, Hocker Grove
Middle School faculty and administrators focus on careers,
according to school's principal, Ben Pretz.
Pretz's grandfather served in the Army and was a World
War II veteran.
"At the middle school level, we utilize our "Eagle Hour' time
to do personal inventories, skill tests and career research,"
he said. "The career fair is our culminating event to give
our students a great opportunity to meet practitioners
in the field in which they may be interested and learn
about the variety of skills and the education needed for
students to enter these career paths."
McCarthy saw an ad promoting the career fair and quickly
responded asking school officials if representatives of the
military would be welcomed to speak at the event. This
year was the second time the Hocker Grove Middle School
hosted the event; however this time, would the first
anyone would speak about careers available in America's
Born in Kansas City, Mo., but reared by his parents in
Overland Park, Kan., McCarthy enlisted in the Army as a
26V20 or enlisted strategic microwave systems repairer,
his military occupational specialty. However, he never
worked much in that capacity while enlisted. After being
medevaced from Vietnam, he was assigned to a direct
support electronic maintenance shop, where he worked
as a 26L20 [enlisted Army tactical microwave systems
repairer] located half way between Seoul, Korea and the
Army Support Command Depot. During his last year as an
enlisted Soldier, McCarthy worked as a draftsman.
McCarthy later received a direct commission to be a civil
affairs officer. He spent his first seven years working in
civil affairs and psychological operations in the U.S. Army
Reserve. On active duty, his career highlights include
spending five years as an operations officer in Oklahoma;
four years working at Human Resources Command then in
St. Louis, Mo.; another stint in operations at the civil affairs
command headquartered in Pensacola, Fl.; two years as
a comptroller in California at the 91st Division; and finally
as the deputy commander at Fort McCoy, Wis. until his
"As an enlisted man, the Signal Corps was a great fit,"
McCarthy said. "As a civil affairs officer on active duty
working primarily in operations,
the planning skills I learned from
a very young age were greatly
enhanced during my active service
in the Army."
Upon transitioning from the
military, McCarthy went to work
with Northrop Grumman where
he felt well prepared by the myriad
skills he learned in the Army.
Following his presentation,
McCarthy was visited by one
student who wondered if joining
the Army was gender restrictive.
"One young lady came back after
our second session and asked if
women could really serve in the
military," he said. "Of course...," he
responded in the affirmative!
McCarthy spent about 33 years in military service, and six
years as an Army contractor. However, one major highlight
for him was the opportunity to work with "the people,
Soldiers Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Civilians."
Military service has been a long standing tradition in
the McCarthy family and may continue through his own
"[My] son, Mason, grew up moving from town to town
and has never seriously considered military service," he
said. However, [my] daughters are considering military
service and may try to join the Naval Junior Reserve Officer
Training Corps program in high school."
McCarthy's advice to other Retired Soldiers and veterans
on how to support the Army's Hire and Inspire initiative
"Contact the local schools in your area. Offer to "tell your
story' to school administrators," he said. "If they don't have
a "career day,' suggest they start a program."
Sgt. Joshua Perlinger, an Army recruiter in the local
area, was "an absolute necessity in making this event a
success" according to McCarthy. Perlinger teamed up with
McCarthy for the career fair presentation.
"I am 66 years old and despite having retired only 10 years
ago, I'm sure Sgt. Perlinger's stories about his three tours in
Afghanistan were much more current
to these young people than anything I
could offer, McCarthy said. "The Army
works as a team and that is exactly
what Sgt. Perlinger, and I did at Hocker
Grove Middle School."
McCarthy also urges other Retired
Soldiers and veterans to contact a local
Army recruiter for support and guidance.
"These men and women are out in the
public eye all the time and will have
probably built inroads to the schools,"
he explained. The worst thing the
school administrators can do is tell you they're not interested."