The Office of Governor Butch Otter on Saturday presented John Joseph McCarthy, a decorated Marine Corps Veteran who served in World War II in battles including Guadalcanal, with a proclamation of Aug. 27 as John Joseph McCarthy Day.
The 92-year-old, who has earned two Purple Hearts among a host of other awards, had a pinning ceremony at the Warhawk Air Museum, which is hosting its annual Warbird Roundup air show this weekend.
“I don’t think I did any more than anybody else did,” said McCarthy, who served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps’ First Division, 11th Regiment from 1941 to 1945.
“I’m a bit bewildered (by the ceremony). I didn’t expect anything like this – they even let school out today!” he joked before taking the stage to receive a shadow box of medals, among other honors.
The event was largely organized by one of McCarthy’s caregivers, CNA Teresa Jordan, who works at Harrison’s Hope Hospice in Meridian.
“He said he didn’t want his story to go away,” explained Jordan as she teared up. “I could not have imagined it any better, and I wish I could do even more for him.”
In addition to his service at Guadalcanal, which was the Allied forces’ first major offensive against Japan in WWII, McCarthy is part of a four-generation tradition of military service that includes his wife, Joyce, who also served in the Marines. In addition, McCarthy’s father served in the Marines, his son Kent in the Navy and his grandson Matt in the Coast Guard.
“They’re both sailors,” the eldest McCarthy joked in a show of good-natured intra-military ribbing during his pinning ceremony. “I’m stuck with them, I guess.”
The veteran also donated his and his wife’s Marine Corps uniforms to the Warhawk Museum, which is launching a fundraising campaign for another expansion.
Nicole Blanchard: 377-6410; @NMBlanchard