FORT PICKETT, Va. --
Sgt. Casey McCarthy is surrounded by geeks.
Geek meaning: expert of a technological field, of course.
The Montgomery, Ala., native serves as a data network specialist with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Communications Section. His job in the Marine Corps centers on a gambit of computer-centric tasks such as: assembling servers, establishing and trouble shooting a tactical data network, uploading software and more. “It’s pretty nerdy,” he said. While it may seem nerdy, with the role technology plays on the battlefield, his job is essential in ensuring his unit has the communications capabilities to coordinate everything from daily operations to coordinated attacks. The Iraq War veteran doesn’t fit the mold of the stereotypical person you may envision hunched over three laptops, behind a wall of servers and a sea of computer cables. McCarthy said he comes from a family of outdoorsmen, actively participated in sports throughout high school, volunteers to coach youth sports, and can often be found in his garage tinkering with his SV650 motorcycle. McCarthy said he decided to join the Marine Corps at 19-years-old while attending Auburn University of Montgomery for computer hardware engineering and Alabama State University. “I felt like I wasn’t doing anything, like I was just following the footsteps of everyone else around me,” he said. “I needed guidance and a little discipline. “I chose this MOS [military occupational specialty] because I like computers, and that’s what I was going to college for,” he said. “I figured it would transfer into something I could use.” The outdoorsman, athlete and motorcycle enthusiast now finds himself immersed in a working environment with coworkers whose hobbies range from similar to alien, to his own. “The majority of people I work with are really geeky,” he said jokingly. But with the job of running an entire unit’s email, internet, and a ton of other computer orientated missions; geek may serve as the prefect word to describe what’s expected of him and his fellow Marines. “In the Marine Corps you’re expected to know everything,” he said. “There’s so much I’m always learning in my spare time, I continuously study and the more you know the more effective you are.” Currently, McCarthy works to keep the 24th MEU’s data network system up and running during the unit’s Realistic Urban Training (RUT) exercise, scheduled Jan. 5-20. The exercise serves to prepare and certify the Marines and Sailors of the 24th MEU for the various operations they may conduct during their upcoming deployment.