Millions of Americans fired up their grills and headed off to the beach this holiday weekend for the unofficial start of summer.

But for Army veteran Patrick Murphy, this is a Memorial Day unlike any other.

The former active-duty captain is now the Army’s second-highest ranking civilian – serving as under secretary of the Army since January. In that role, Murphy oversees the management and operation of the U.S. military’s largest branch, an organization whose size and scale rival that of a Fortune 10 company.

“It’s being back home right now, to be back with these soldiers,” Murphy told Fox News.

Now, Murphy faces the challenge of a lifetime: Running the world’s premier fighting force at a time of declining resources, and making sure it continues to attract America’s best.

And boosting recruitment is a fundamental goal.

“We need more Americans coming into our military,” Murphy told Fox News.

To this day, military service tends to run in the family. According to Murphy, 79 percent of the Army’s current recruits have family members who also served. Murphy himself is a third-generation veteran.