What's New
Search Engine
Photo Gallery
Unit History
Unit Honors
Voices Of Past
F&F Association
How To Submit



(Photo courtesy of "Kat")

Grave marker for in New Section, Plot D of the Mount Olivet Cemetery , Middletown (Monmouth County), New Jersey

James J. "Mac" McMahon entered the service October 14, 1942. He was immediately sent to Camp Upton, NY where he volunteered for airborne training. Mac was sent to Camp Blanding, Florida, assigned to the Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (508th PIR).

Mac received basic infantry training and concurrently completed the first phase of parachutist training at Ft. Benning GA followed by advanced field training at Camp Mackall, NC.  The regiment shipped out on October 28, 1943 and landed in Belfast, Ireland twelve days later.  After another three months of advanced training and weapons qualifications, the regiment moved to Nottingham, England where they began the final phases of training for the coming invasion of Europe.

Following several months of arduous training including two night parachute jumps and field exercises, they boarded trucks and moved to the RAF Folkingham Air Base.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he was one of more than 2200 men of the 508th that parachuted into Normandy.  The regiment was not relieved for 33 days.  He was one of approximately 950 men left in the unit; the others had been killed, captured or wounded.  On July 12, 1944, they moved to Utah Beach where he boarded an LST and sailed to England.

On September 17, 1944 Jim was again in combat after parachuting into Holland during Operation Market-Garden.  He fought in and around the city of Nijmegen until the unit was relieved on November 11, 1944

On December 18, 1944 the 508th was sent to Werbomont, Belgium where they established a defensive position as the Battle of The Bulge broke out.  The unit was without winter clothing, equipment or shelter as it had been hastily sent into action.  Mac fought in bitter cold and snow until March until the regiment was relieved in March 1945.

During these campaigns James McMahon performed outstandingly as the Battalion Wire Chief, a dangerous function that often required exposure to enemy observation and fire.  “Mac”, as he was known, was an Hq 1st “Hells Half Acre” survivor, a particularly vicious battle in Normandy.

Mac was one of the quietest men in Hq 1st. He was always reluctant to discuss his wartime experiences and accomplishments. His WW II comrades recall that he performed his duties efficiently, often without direction, always without supervision, and consistently under the most dangerous battlefield conditions.

As Chief of the battalion wire section, Mac was responsible for the operational efficiency of the wire communications systems connecting the battalion headquarters with the frontline rifle companies.  Mac maintained continuous surveillance of this highly vulnerable network that was often disrupted by enemy patrols or artillery fire.  These frequent wire breaks had to be quickly located and repaired or the wire replaced. Locating and repairing these breaks, required that Mac and his few men operate day and night, in all weather, often exposed to enemy small arms and artillery fire.

His awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge with two combat jump stars, Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (EAME) medal with an Invasion Arrowhead and four battle stars, Presidential Unit Citation, the French and Belgian Fourrageres, the Orange Lanyard of the Royal Netherlands Army, and numerous defense medals including the Occupational Medal with Germany Bar.


Copyright and all other rights reserved by the Family and Friends of The 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment Association or by those who are otherwise cited,
For problems or questions regarding this web site, please contact