SSG McCarthy began his service to the United States Army on 19 June 2008 where he eagerly learned a vast amount of knowledge on combat engineer tasks and duties while assigned to Alpha Company, 35th EN BN.
Upon completion of his one station unit training (OSUT) he was recognized by Drill Sergeants and company leadership for his dedication and proficiency in rifle marksmanship and physical training, awarding him with the sapper spirit award. He has completed a total of 24 months of combat deployments serving in two separate operational environments (Iraq & Afghanistan) performing multiple duties to include reconnaissance driver, team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant. He has broadened his ability to contribute to the Army by attending numerous military schools such as ranger, airborne, air assault, FBCB2 and the sapper leader course while also completing over 50 hours of civilian education progressing towards a degree in general studies.
Upon successful completion of combat engineer OSUT where he earned the sapper spirit award and was recognized before his company, SSG McCarthy began his career in the Army’s operational force at Fort Drum, New York where he was assigned to the 7th EN BN, 20th EN BDE. After only a few short months of training with the 693rd Sapper Company, SSG McCarthy joined the Battalion’s main body for a cycle at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Upon arriving at NTC, SSG McCarthy was selected by the Battalion CSM to assist the Battalion operations battle staff in the S-3 section. He was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for his attention to detail and unmatched effort he provided the S-3 during the rotation.
During his deployment to Iraq in 2009, SSG McCarthy was exposed to numerous engineer missions and scenarios. SSG McCarthy served as the platoon sergeants driver for the battalion’s reconnaissance platoon conducting over 100 vertical and horizontal construction site visits as well as serving as a dismounted security team member, allowing numerous safe and successful engagements for non-organic units such as Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations. He was recognized by both his peers and leaders for his dedication and determination to broaden his knowledge base as an engineer Soldier and leader.
Upon his safe return to the continental United States in 2010, SSG McCarthy was sent to the 630th Route Clearance Company of the 7th EN BN in order to fulfill manning requirements for another combat deployment exactly 12 months from the return of his initial tour. He volunteered to extend his service to serve for the duration of the 12 month deployment.
While serving as a team leader in both the Wardak and Logar provinces of Afghanistan, SSG McCarthy served as a dismounted RCP team leader and was responsible for frontal security, detection and navigation as the first vehicle in the patrol. He was responsible for the successful dismounted clearance of over 500 miles in the Wardak and Logar provinces enduring harsh winters with multiple feet of snow as well as exhausting summer months of extremely high temperatures. He was involved in over 50 separate engagements with the enemy to include direct and indirect fire attacks and was crucial to the defeat of the enemy in each of the engagements. He was able to provide proficient medical aid for three of his Soldiers during three separate engagements, allowing his Soldiers a safe and successful return home. SSG McCarthy was also recognized by the Battalion command team for finding the most improvised explosive devices (IED’s) in the Battalion throughout the entire deployment. Not only did SSG McCarthy display his attention to detail and commitment to the engineer regiment in a tactical environment, but also competed in a Battalion Best Warrior Competition during the deployment and earned second place.
After returning all of his Soldiers home safely from a strenuous and vigorous combat deployment in 2013, SSG McCarthy faced a dilemma in which he had to decide whether to attend a promotion board to achieve the rank of SSG, or pursue his dream of being a sapper leader and attending the sapper leader course before moving to a different duty station shortly after. He chose to follow his dream and stayed determined to serve the engineer regiment by attending the sapper leader course. At the sapper leader course SSG McCarthy excelled at the opportunity given to him and successfully navigated through the course despite the mentally and physically challenging requirements. By choosing the more difficult path and attending the sapper leader course, SSG McCarthy did something 85% of his peers and leaders never achieved and earned the coveted sapper tab.
Shortly after graduating from the sapper leader course, SSG McCarthy PCS’d to Fort Wainwright, Alaska and was assigned to Alpha Company, 70th BEB, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He displayed his technical and tactical expertise very quickly to his Soldiers and Leaders and was soon promoted to Staff Sergeant. As a squad leader, SSG McCarthy led his squad to win the Battalion Sapper Stakes Competition two years in a row. He continuously sought to broaden his knowledge of expertise in both engineer and maneuver tasks and decided to take advantage of an opportunity to attend the renowned U.S. Army Ranger School where he was successful again and graduated the course. SSG McCarthy returned to his unit in Alaska a well-rounded leader who was proficient in engineer and infantry tasks and was eager to train his Soldiers and distribute the knowledge he gained.
During his third NTC rotation with the 70th BEB, SSG McCarthy displayed a great amount of poise and determination to his Soldiers by completing the first ever 18 day rotation outside of the rotational unit bivouac area. SSG McCarthy was awarded an Army Commendation Medal for consistently ensuring his platoon’s readiness stood above 90% at all times and were proficiently conducting engineer tasks to standard while attached to the 1-5 Infantry Battalion.
When the engineer regiment announced it was bringing back the Best Sapper Competition for the first time in three years, SSG McCarthy was eager to compete and represent his unit in the competition. After a grueling 50 miles in 50 hours, SSG McCarthy and his teammate finished in 9th overall place in the competition out of 51 teams. While there, he was identified and selected to be a future Sapper Leader Course instructor, privileged with the opportunity to give back to the Engineer Regiment in the most direct way.
After arriving to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in August 2015, SSG McCarthy quickly certified to become a Sapper Leader Course instructor. He was assigned to the patrolling committee where he made an immediate impact and was selected to serve as the committee chief nine months after arriving to the detachment. SSG McCarthy not only dedicated countless hours of his personal time to the course but also outside of his realm to include winning two Brigade NCO of the Quarter boards, one MSCOE Quarter board, two time (2015 & 2016) 1st Engineer Brigade NCO of the Year as well as being inducted into the prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and winning the FLW/MSCoE NCO of the year. SSG McCarthy has attended nine competitive boards at the Brigade, Post and TRADOC level and has won every single one.
In May of 2017, SSG McCarthy competed and won the 2017 Fort Leonard Wood/ MSCoE NCO of the year and was selected by the installation CSM to serve as his executive assistant. After winning the post level best warrior competition, SSG McCarthy then became eligible to compete at the TRADOC NCO of the year/ best warrior competition. In July of 2017 SSG McCarthy competed and won the TRADOC NCO of the year competition.
In addition to being an extremely well rounded leader, SSG McCarthy has also led by example at the Sapper Leader Course as the patrolling committee chief by training, mentoring and certifying three SFC(P), five SFC, and four SSG. He sets the standard high not only for his students but instructors as well by consistently achieving the highest APFT score in the detachment for two years in a row and also holding the fastest run times in the detachment for all validated runs in the Sapper Leader Course. He was recognized by his leadership and engineer regiment as well by earning the Steel Engineer de Fleury medal in April 2017.
On October 2nd 2017 SSG McCarthy was named the 2017 Army NCO of the year after winning the Army Best Warrior Competition.