2011 Tillman Scholar

John Larch

University of North Carolina

“I want to protect people through work that maintains our critical infrastructure, safeguards the environment and creates resilient communities.”

John Larch enlisted in the Army National Guard as a construction equipment operator to gain field experience while studying Civil Engineering in college. After completing his degree, he was commissioned as an officer. John thought that he was at the high point of his military career as he stepped off the plane to perform peacekeeping duties in Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 4, 2001. Watching events unfold a week later, he knew that this was just the beginning of his calling. Upon completing his deployment and returning to the United States, John immediately volunteered for United States Army Special Forces. Shortly after completing Airborne School and earning his Green Beret, he deployed again, this time to combat in Afghanistan. There, he led a Special Forces A-team, alongside their Afghan partners, battling against Taliban fighters.

After returning from combat, John continued to serve his country in the Army Special Operations community and was also selected as a Tillman Scholar. Thanks to the scholarship program, John was able to obtain his Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Emergency Management. After retiring from the military, John put his education to work in Fayetteville, North Carolina, coordinating the infrastructure recovery efforts for Hurricane Mathew and planning response plans for Hurricanes Irma and Florence. He now serves as the City’s Stormwater Manager, a role he enjoys because he is able to continue to protect citizens from threats such as flooding, drinking water contamination, and environmental pollution. John looks forward to a continued career in public service in a role where he can safeguard our nation and its citizens.