Retired Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stanley McCrary's military journey began with a purpose: to secure the GI Bill and pursue a college education.
Hailing from Ethelsville, Pickens County, Alabama, McCrary enlisted in the Army during his senior year at St. Anne Community High School in St. Anne, Illinois. Initially serving as a Shillelagh Missile System “repairer,” he reclassified to the Forward Area Alerting Radar System and eventually underwent Warrant Officer training as an Army Land Combat Systems Repair Technician, marking the evolution of his military career.
Throughout his service, McCrary was assigned to various locations, including Uijeongbu, Republic of Korea; Fort Johnson, Louisiana (formerly Fort Polk); Wackenheim, Germany; Fort Cavazos, Texas (formerly Fort Hood); Fort Riley, Kansas; and Scholefield Barracks, Hawaii. He also deployed to operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Provide Comfort with the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.
McCrary cherished the opportunity to work with his fellow Soldiers and appreciated the opportunity to be stationed abroad, allowing him to immerse himself in different cultures and visit neighboring countries.
When reflecting on the highlights of his career, McCrary proudly mentions his promotion to chief warrant officer and his dedication to serving his country.
"To have the chance to lead and train our maintenance Soldiers, ensuring their excellence while maintaining our weapons systems' functionality and reliability, was an awe-inspiring responsibility that I took seriously," McCrary said.
He also fondly remembers his experience as a junior warrant officer, fielding new weapons systems while stationed at Fort Riley and subsequently deploying with those same systems to operational environments.
"It was demanding, but I successfully conducted tests and checks on those weapon systems, ensuring their capabilities and verifying their adherence to design specifications," McCrary said. "And when we deployed those Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, all the weapon systems I maintained came back home, fully mission capable — not many people can say they accomplished that."
For his exceptional work during that deployment, McCrary was awarded a Bronze Star Medal.
McCrary retired as an instructor and writer for the Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced Courses at the 832nd Ordnance Battalion, Redstone Arsenal, in 1997, but not before utilizing the GI Bill for which he initially joined the Army. He earned an Associate of Science in Supervisory Leadership and Management from Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii; a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College; and a Master of Business Administration in Management from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Normal, Alabama.
After an impressive 22-year career in uniform, McCrary transitioned into industry as an associate engineer for three years before eventually joining the Army Aviation and Missile Command as an equipment specialist for the Sentinel Radar System.
When asked about his decision to work with AMCOM, McCrary expressed his appreciation for the hands-on opportunities and his continued direct interaction with Soldiers.
"The ability to stay connected and contribute to the safety, training, and readiness of Soldiers played a significant role in my choice to continue working for the Army," McCrary said. "Working alongside engineers, logisticians, analysts, and technical writers, as well as participating in tests and evaluations, has been an incredibly fulfilling experience."
Throughout his 23 years as an AMCOM civilian, McCrary has worked on various programs and traveled extensively, contributing to the development and implementation of ground-based weapons systems.
McCrary also highlighted the influence of great leaders and coworkers throughout his career, emphasizing that every job he held prepared him for his current role. He expressed gratitude for being able to serve as a civilian employee, maintaining a servant-leader mindset and continuing to support service members.
"I consider myself blessed,” he said. “It was an honor to serve in the military, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving in a civilian capacity, supporting our servicemen and women.”
McCray is a matrix position under PEO-Aviation, where he serves as the lead for fielding and training for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, Endurance Un-crewed Aviation System Product Office.