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Harold R. McMahon
Harold R. McMahon
(1923 - )
Radio Operator
Hamilton Crew 604
completed 53 missions
Life before the War
Harold McMahon was born near Woodsfield in Monroe County, Ohio on 25 July 1923. His parents were Manford H McMahon and Helen I Harrington. He raised in Macedonia, Ohio. Like most kids, Harold had many interests and hobbies but his main hobby was radio building and construction.
He was the oldest of six children with two brothers and three sisters. The middle brother, Eugene, served in the infantry fighting in Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge. His youngest brother, John, was too young for WWII but served in the Navy during the Korean War.
Into the Army
At the age of 19, Harold was inducted into the service at Akron, Ohio, on 29 December 1942. He officially entered active service on 5 January 1943. Naturally with his radio knowledge, he passed all the tests to become a radio operator.
He was immediately sent to Miami Beach, Florida, to do Basic Training. Upon completion he was sent to Chicago, Illinois, for Radio Operator Technical Training which was quite lenghty and intense. He graduated in June of 1943.
Normally, with the exception of pilots, all air crew personnel are sent to Aeriel Gunnery School. But somehow the Army slipped up and Harold was sent to Salt Lake City for combat crew assignment without gunnery training.
He was matched up to some B-24 crew which was sent to Crew Combat Training (CCTS) at Davis Monthan Field in Tucson, Arizona. They began training on 3 September 1943. The following month his crew was sent to Blythe, California, for three months of Second Phase training. On 28 Fenruary 1944 he arrived at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas, another CCTS, the 330th Crew Combat Training School.
Almost immediately upon arrival his commanders discovered he hadn't undergone gunnery school. Rather than sending him to a school, the commanders decided to create a school just for him right there at Biggs Field. His training began in the morning and by noon he was deemed a full-fledged gunner. His training consisted of one pass, shooting at a nylon sleeve being towed by an A-20 flown by a WASP pilot. According to the Army he was now ready for combat.
There at Biggs Field, the Hurley Crew 1634 was short a radio operator and Harold was reassigned to them. In all Harold was only at Biggs for about a week or so when his new crew got their assignment to the 492nd BG at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Records show they arrived there on 10 March 1944.
Training Record
29 Dec 42: Inducted into the Army, Akron, OH
5 Jan 43: Basic Training, Miami Beach, FL
Feb 43: Radio School, Chicago, IL
Jun 43: Crew Assignment Center: Salt Lake City, UT
3 Sep 43: Crew Combat Training: Davis Monthan, Tucson, AZ
Oct 43: Crew Combat Training: Blythe, CA
28 Feb 44: Crew Combat Training: Biggs Field, TX
10 Mar 44: 492nd Bomb Group: Alamogordo, NM
Service with the 492nd Bomb Group
Harold's time at Alamogordo was short as the Group quickly passed their POM (Preparation for Overseas Movement) inspection only ten days after his crew's arrival. The next month they flew to England via the southern route.
Shortly after arriving to North Pickenham, England, Capt Hurley was promoted to Squadron Operations Officer and Lt Hamilton took over the crew. After completing twenty-two missions Harold developed what was called aerotitus media, an inflammation of the eardrums due to inadequate pressure adjustment. This was quite common among aircrews. The doctor grounded him while udergoing treatment so he was eight missions short when the Group was disbanded. He was transferred to the 801st Provisional BG based at Harrington, which later was redesignated the 492nd BG.
Service with the Carpetbaggers
The 801st was the OSS arm within the Army Air Force doing all sorts of secret covert jobs, but mainly to help the various resistance groups throughout Nazi occupied Europe.
Harold did one secret mission out of Harrington into France followed by five gas hauling missions to supply Patton's fast moving Army.
Then Harold's squadron was sent to Italy to conduct the same types of OSS missions with the 15th Air Force. Initially he flew out of Brindisi, in southern Italy. Three months later they were moved to Rosignano, north of the Po River Valley, near Pisa. Harold flew twenty-five missions from bases in Italy, flying his last one (his fifty-third in all) on 6 April 1945. Three days later he was on his way home. Having enough points, he was discharged from service on 25 May 1945.
After the war
Shortly after getting home Harold got married which produced his three children; Karen, Pat and Dennis.
Harold's passion for radio and electronics continued as he made a career in the radio/TV field working in middle and upper management positions.
He and his second wife, Martha, are currently living in Westlake, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland.
More Info
Hurley CCT 1634
Hurley Crew 604
Crew 604
492nd Mission 1
11 May 44
492nd Mission 4
15 May 44
492nd Mission 7
23 May 44
492nd Mission 8
24 May 44
492nd Mission 9
25 May 44
492nd Mission 11
28 May 44
492nd Mission 12
29 May 44
492nd Mission 14
31 May 44
492nd Mission 17
6 Jun 44
492nd Mission 21
10 Jun 44
492nd Mission 23
La Possonniere
11 Jun 44
492nd Mission 27
14 Jun 44
492nd Mission 31
18 Jun 44
492nd Mission 39
23 Jun 44
492nd Mission 40a
La Vaupeliere
25 Jun 44
492nd Mission 41
27 Jun 44
492nd Mission 42
28 Jun 44
492nd Mission 45
6 Jul 44
492nd Mission 46
7 Jul 44
492nd Mission 48
11 Jul 44
492nd Mission 47
12 Jul 44
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Page last modified Wednesday, June 22, 2011.