The Young Man
Matt was happiest when outdoors, helping others and fixing things. At 6’1″ with red hair and blue eyes, Matt had quite the presence. He grew up in Orangeville, Ontario with his mom Valerie McGrady, and two younger siblings Shannon and Daniel. With a 4 and 5 year age gap between him and his siblings and a maturity beyond his years, Matthew often acted like a second father to them, much to their chagrin, of course. He also took on the role of “Man of the House” and took it very seriously. He was always looking for things to fix, and little ways he could make things easier for his mom.
From as young as age two, Matthew would take apart his toys just to see how they worked and then patiently put them back together again. On family walks, if he came across someone fixing their car, he would run over and quietly observe. Matt was always fascinated by mechanics, a trait that would eventually serve him well as a Signaller for the Canadian Armed Forces.
Growing up, Matthew was in Cubs, Scouts and Venturers. While in Scouts he received the Chief Scout Award and was repeatedly recognized as a leader. Always looking for an adventure, Matt loved hiking, rock climbing (even without equipment), camping and parachuting. His dream was to become a Canadian Armed Forces Pilot.
Matthew was the first in his family to join the military and he absolutely loved being a soldier. With his desire to help others and create change, the Canadian Armed Forces was a perfect fit. Matthew wanted to make a difference in the world, and he definitely did. Matt was loved by many and will always be remembered for his quirky sense of humour, the twinkle in his eye, his kindness, and his ability to make you feel as if you were the most important person in the world when you spoke to him.
Here are a few pictures of the younger Matt:
Matthew initially enrolled in the Canadian Army Reserve (Primary Reserve) on 12 February 2001, as a Supply Technician with the Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment), where he completed his Basic Military Qualification, Infantry Communicator and Supply Technician training. During his time in the Reserves, Cpl McCully was identified as having outstanding leadership potential, a highly professional soldier with an exemplary attitude.
On August 17, 2002, Cpl McCully transferred from the Primary Reserve to the Regular Force as a Signals Operator and was sent to the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics (CFSCE) for his Signal Operator Apprenticeship training, which he completed on 13 June 2003. His academic performance and level of physical fitness were both exceptional.
Cpl McCully became a member of A Troop, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG) HQ & Signals Sqn on 16 June 2003. His positive impact in the troop was felt immediately, while his excellent attitude and love for his work were apparent to everyone around him.
He deployed with the unit from 7 August 2003-24 January 2004 on OP ATHENA Rotation 0 as a driver/signaller, where he performed his duties with the outstanding professionalism and dedication he was quickly becoming known for. He was described as being a “self-starter” with outstanding technical knowledge and situational awareness. He was the first to assist other detachments once his own duties were completed and was always ready to volunteer for any extra work that arose. He received the General Campaign Star for his service.
After returning from Afghanistan, Matthew continued to maintain his high level of physical fitness. In 2004 he completed the four-day Nijmegen March of 200km. In 2005, on his own time and with little preparation, he trained for and completed the 2 CMBG Ironman, finishing 21st overall in the Brigade.
Cpl McCully was recommended for and received an accelerated promotion to the rank of Corporal in the fall of 2005 based on his outstanding performance in all aspects of his work. He was a soldier of exceptional versatility and seemingly unlimited potential. He was highly recommended for further leadership roles as a Master Corporal. His influence on his peers and his subordinates was outstanding and he was a role model for those around him. He may sound too good to be true but that’s the man Matt was! Matthew will always be remembered for his passion for life, his generosity and kindness, and his bravery.
Here are a few pictures of Matt the soldier:
Bio’s made possible by Matthew’s family and 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2CMBG) HQ Signals Sqn.