Diocesan News

Brooklyn Park Rededicated to Honor Brothers Who Sacrificed in Service

A plaque added to the Maj. Eugene McCarthy Triangle honors his brother, Dennis, who died in 2018 of 9/11-related cancer. Dennis’ family includes (from left) daughter Meghan, with her daughter, Mikaela, daughter Erin, daughter Caitlin with son Dennis and daughter Lillian, and wife, Rosemary. (Photo: Bill Miller)

by Bill Miller, Senior Reporter

MARINE PARK — For 27 years, people have filled a triangle park in this neighborhood around Memorial Day to honor its namesake, Marine Corps Maj. Eugene McCarthy, who died in Operation Desert Storm. 

The triangle’s original marker, first dedicated in 1996, also honors eight other service members from New York City who died in the Gulf War. 

But this year’s observance on Sunday, May 19, took on a new significance — a rededication to include a plaque for McCarthy’s older brother. 

Dennis McCarthy was a special agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He regularly attended his brother’s Memorial Day ceremonies, joined by his wife, Rosemary, and their three daughters. 

Dennis was 65 when he died in 2018 of 9/11-related illness. 

“It’s a huge deal,” Rosemary said, “knowing he’s being remembered.” 

The McCarthy brothers’ family attended St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in East Flatbush, where the boys were altar servers and went to the Catholic school with their sister, Ann. The brothers attended nearby Nazareth Regional School. 

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Eugene McCarthy. (Photo: Fraser Civic Association)

Eugene’s biography reads like that of a character in a popular thriller novel. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1977 with an officer’s commission to the Marine Corps. He became a pilot and flight instructor on attack helicopters, but also trained with Navy divers and earned Army airborne jump wings, plus a Ranger tab. 

After 11 years of active duty, the aviator became a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He piloted DEA helicopters during the counter-narcotics campaign, Operation Snowcap, in Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. 

He paused his DEA career to serve with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in Operation Desert Storm, the muti-national military campaign to liberate Kuwait. He died Feb. 2, 1991, when his AH-1J Cobra attack helicopter accidentally crashed in the Saudi Arabian desert. He was 35, and unmarried.

Rosemary said she also grew up in Marine Park where she befriended the McCarthy brothers and their sister, Anne. She noted that the late Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McCarthy Sr. were, respectively, a police officer and a school chef. 

“I married the boy from across the fence,” she proudly said of Dennis, who studied psychology at St. Francis College before starting his own law enforcement career. 

He served as a federal probation officer and an immigration officer before becoming a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations. As such, he was assigned to finding evidence from federal cases stored at 6 World Trade Center, also known as the U.S. Customs House. 

Rosemary said he got cancer while sifting through WTC rubble brought to the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. 

About 60 people turned out for the annual observance organized by Tom Hernandez and fellow members of the Fraser Civic Association. 

Among them were five of Eugene’s classmates from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. 

A new plaque honoring the late federal special agent Dennis McCarthy was added May 19 to the marker built 27 years ago for his younger brother, Marine Corps aviator Maj. Eugene McCarthy in Marine Park. (Photo: Bill Miller)

Others were local and state government representatives, New York City Police officers,

the Marine Corps League’s color guard, and students, faculty, and staff from Nazareth Regional High School. 

The school’s principal, Robert DiRe, announced that the Maj. Eugene McCarthy Memorial 5K Race would return in the fall following a two-year pandemic hiatus. 

Rosemary, who lives in Massapequa with her daughters and grandchildren nearby, praised the Fraser Civic Association for its devotion to her family. 

“For 27 years, people have shown up to celebrate my family and all those that served. 

“No one is forgotten.”

Dennis McCarthy (center) appeared every year at the memorial 5K race honoring his brother, Marine Maj. Eugene McCarthy. Dennis passed away in 2018 from 9/11-related illness. He is shown here with Caitlin, his daughter, and Kerry O’Neil, niece. The race, sponsored by Nazareth Regional High School, is expected to return this fall after a two-year pandemic hiatus. (Photo: Jim Mancari)

2 thoughts on “Brooklyn Park Rededicated to Honor Brothers Who Sacrificed in Service

  1. People need to remember the service and sacrifice of our. Women and men who serve as first responders and in the military. Many of them live with residual issues to the day of their passing into heaven.

  2. I applaud the Tablet for this article on these two brothers who always put others first and actually gave their lives in this pursuit, They were wonderful examples of their faith.