McMurry retires after ‘nearly perfect’ career

Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry is awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during his retirement ceremony Sept. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Varhegyi)
Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry is awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during his retirement ceremony Sept. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Varhegyi)

Credit: Jim Varhegyi

Credit: Jim Varhegyi

Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander, retired Sept. 2 after more than 35 years of service in the Air Force. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., Air Force Materiel Command commander, officiated the ceremony in Kenney Hall of the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Covering just some of the highlights of McMurry’s career to those in the auditorium and viewing

online, Bunch told the story of an indefatigable leader with infectious enthusiasm.

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.

He also holds the distinction of being the only person to command the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFLCMC and AFMC.

“I entered this with a simple goal, and I decided early the two things I was going to do. One is do my job as good as I could and try to make every place a little better than I found it,” McMurry said. “It has been an honor to serve on this team. I’ve loved every minute of it.”

In closing, he mentioned his oft-cited “four-year plan” and concluded he now knows when the clock started, “1 November 2016 … nearly perfect.”