Rambler alumnus and former Army Ranger Captain Ryan McCarthy ’92 was recently nominated by President Donald J. Trump as the under secretary of the United States Army. This senior leadership role places McCarthy in consideration for the Army’s second ranking position—and possible advancement to the top job.
McCarthy’s road to becoming an Army Ranger began during his time here at Loyola Academy. As a student-athlete on the track and field team, McCarthy spoke with Coach Frank J. Amato about his interest in joining the military. In a 2002 Loyola Focus, McCarthy recounted, “I knew that I wanted something different from the usual college experience. I’d been fascinated with the military ever since I was a kid, so I discussed the possibility of a military career with Frank.”
Amato, a former U.S. Marine himself, emphasized McCarthy’s strong work ethic and outstanding leadership abilities, adding that the qualities he possessed were vital to successfully carrying out military operations. This was just McCarthy’s first step on the way to fighting for his country in the army.
Following Coach Amato’s advice, McCarthy visited the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) his senior year, where he immediately felt connected to every aspect of the school. After enrolling at VMI in the summer of 1992, McCarthy began what proved to be a long and grueling road to becoming a soldier.
“They shaved my head, taught me how to march, got me in shape and drilled me on VMI’s day-to-day operating procedures,” he recalled. After four long years at VMI, McCarthy graduated with just over 200 out of the 410 students that originally enrolled in the school.
McCarthy went on to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he began Infantry Officer training and inevitably an Airborne Ranger. After completing his training regimens and a short stint with the Third Infantry Division, McCarthy was accepted to be a rifle platoon leader in the 75th Ranger Regiment of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in November 1999. After the September 11 terror attacks, McCarthy participated in the invasion of Afghanistan, where he assisted the Northern Alliance forces, whose principal mission was to defeat the Taliban. McCarthy and his men spent 85 days conducting military operations, where he was in charge of coordinating with other special operations units and government agencies to plan and successfully execute their combat missions against Taliban leadership targets.
After his discharge from the army in 2002, McCarthy worked at the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), and he was also a member of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs until 2006. Additionally, from 2006 to 2011, he served as a special assistant for former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Since 2011, McCarthy has been vice president at the U.S. defense contractor company Lockheed Martin, where he has contributed to the F-35 Program in a variety of roles.
Some of McCarthy's responsibilities as the under secretary will include the management of a $137 billion budget, manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems development, equipment acquisition, communications and financial management.