If you are not familiar with the name above, perhaps three words will assist your memory- “Black Hawk Down.” Sgt. Maj. James P. McMahon was a member of the team that was portrayed in that iconic movie. The movie, as we all know, was based on real life events and McMahon played a part in those events.
McMahon joined the Army in 1975 and quickly went on to become an Army Ranger in the 75th Ranger Regiment. At some point in his career, he was also part of Delta Force. All of the sources referenced do not identify which he was, specifically, at the time of the events he is most notable for.
In the stories told by other survivors of that day (which were also turned into the movie), McMahon is known for more than just surviving the helicopter crash. He rescued several team members and survived over 15 hours of intense fighting until reinforcements arrived. The original mission- to locate and capture several militia leaders in a ‘get in and get out’ manner.
Unfortunately for McMahon and several others, the intel they received was incredibly wrong and it quickly turned into more of an ambush scenario. Still, McMahon and some of his team were able to hold out. He would receive a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for his actions during this battle in 1993.
McMahon continued his military career for another 9 years, until 2002. He completed 27 years of service total, and retired as a Sergeant Major. After his retirement, he became a government contractor and continued to support military operations. An excerpt from his obituary states:
“He worked on security details in Iraq in 2003, helped provide humanitarian aid in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake, and provided both security and humanitarian aid in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. As a certified Information Technology specialist, Jim provided cybersecurity assistance to companies and the U.S. Government. Since 2013, he served as a Special Operations Instructor at Ft. Bragg.”
He passed away November 5 at the age of 64, no cause was identified. McMahon will be revered for more than just the Battle of Mogadishu, but for his entire service to our nation.
You can read his full obituary, here. Rest Easy, Sgt. Maj. McMahon.