McCarty Retires: Changing Pace After Three Decades

Jun 13, 2024
Written by: Erin Beene, Northern Sentry
Col McCarty and Dawn experiencing the the progress of their forever house in Indiana.
Colonel Anthony S. McCarty Commander,
91st Security Forces Group

“Retirement means no [duty] phones going off and much more family time” – Mrs. Dawn McCarty.
“It means a change of pace, planting roots after 30 years and living near family in Indiana”- Colonel Anthony McCarty, Commander 91 SFG.

Military retirement is the final career Air Force milestone. The legendary benefits offered can sometimes be what keeps military members going past their initial commitment. It is the end goal, the last box to be checked. However, to the McCartys it means so much more. It means saying goodbye to one family, but getting to spend more time with another.

After 30 years serving in both the enlisted and officer ranks, Col McCarty will step down as an active duty Air Force member. While he won’t completely retire from working exactly, his new civilian job will allow him to work remotely, travel a little and still maintain a relationship with the Air Force community. McCarty is excited about his new life outlook.

The couple year ago. Dawn said, “Man look at those young kids! We were just dating and that was my first trip home to meet the family.”

Midwesterners to the core, the McCartys have been building their dream home in Indiana for the last few years. The modest, but luxurious, home will boast a single story layout with a wood burning fireplace sitting on five acres with a gorgeous lake view. Dawn is looking forward to just hanging out with family and possibly maintaining a garden since she has rarely had the chance while living on base housing.

When asked how they knew it was the right time for the big retirement step, Col McCarty said that it had been a conversation between the two of them for the last few years, but it never felt right until now. They both knew they wanted to see their two children, Nate and Natalie, off to adulthood before making the plunge. Since the McCartys are empty nesters who recently celebrated the marriage of the son Nate to now daughter-in-law, Kaitlin, they knew it was time. Col McCarty stated that being a Group Commander was one of his military career goals, so when he was offered the 91 SFG Group Command position in 2022, both he and Dawn were excited to accept. They then decided that they would retire after this last position. Since they knew going in that it would be their “last hurrah” with the military, the McCartys have loved Minot and made it count!

“This was the best [last] job I could have had. It is the best place I could be. I had unbelievable and phenomenal team mates. I will miss being around the people here. Minot is the best type of people to be around.”

-Col Mccarty

“[Minot] wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Once I got used to the cold, it was just cold. The Spouses have become like family and leaving that family is going to be hard.” – Dawn McCarty

The couple shared that their most memorable times at Minot were just eating, drinking and laughing with friends and the Airmen and families in the unit. Specifically, they both mentioned the other 91st Missile Wing Group Commanders and their spouses as being extremely close.

“The fellow Colonels are my friends. They really became like family especially when we were all dealing with challenges, we didn’t have to do it alone.” – Col McCarty.

This past fall at their son’s wedding. Dawn said, “We gained a bonus daughter Kaitlin. It was a great day!”

Dawn explained her bond with some of the spouses by saying,
“It made it so much easier to have a group of spouses nearby. We were really tight. I will always remember our ‘Weekly Wine Down Wednesdays’.”

During the interviews, both Col and Mrs. McCarty frequently referred to “family”, both their biological and their Air Force families, as the absolute most important things in their lives. It was extremely evident how much they both value people, relationships and community.

On Tuesday, June 18, in the Minot AFB Defender Dome, Col Anthony McCarty will host his retirement ceremony surrounded by a huge group of Minot Airmen, all of his family and a massive group of “friend family” that have been huge parts of their lives.

“I just wanted all our family there. It would have meant a lot to my Dad to have been there.”- Dawn McCarty
“Dawn and I didn’t anticipate coming to Minot, but now I can’t think of a better place. We are leaving the Air Force very happy. We are ready to see the next chapter after this magnificent Air Force journey.” -Col McCarty

Thank-you to the McCartys for your decades of service to the country. You have touched so many lives and careers. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors!

This past fall at their son’s wedding. Dawn said, “We gained a bonus daughter Kaitlin. It was a great day!”

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