McMurry was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1985 after graduating from the University of Texas, Austin, with a degree in electrical engineering. His plan was simple, to serve four years and then get out. It took him 35 years.
McMurry described his career as random, unclear, unassociated and unprogrammable. In fact, he served in a variety of engineering, program management, staff and command positions within Air Combat Command, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, AFMC, Air Force Space Command and the Missile Defense Agency. He was program manager for the F-16 and the Airborne Laser, where he oversaw the first mid-air track and shoot down of a beyond-line-of-sight missile from an aircraft using a laser. It was a feat many at the time thought impossible.