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24 June 2009

Ed McMahon - Marine Corps Aviator

from The California State Military Museum by M.L. Shettle, Jr.

When the United States began gearing up for World War II, McMahon wanted to become a Marine fighter pilot. Since the Navy's V-5 program required two years of college, he enrolled in Boston College.

When the Navy relaxed the two-year requirement, McMahon dropped out of school and signed up. In early 1943, he first went to a civilian-run Wartime Training School in Texarkana where the Navy evaluated cadets' potential by checking them out in a Piper Cub. Then came the three-month Preflight School at Athens, Georgia. McMahon received primary training at Dallas and intermediate training at Pensacola. McMahon received the single engine carrier syllabus and was assigned to the Marines.

After receiving his commission and wings in early 1945, McMahon was sent to the Corsair Operational Training Unit at Lee Field, Green Cove Springs, Florida. Upon completion of training, he was "plowed back" and became an instructor in the same unit. On the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, McMahon received orders to join the Marine carrier program on the West Coast. His orders were canceled and he returned to civilian life.

In 1952, McMahon got his big break when he was offered a job in New York with CBS; however, he was recalled into the Marine Corps due to the Korean War. After several months of training at Miami and El Toro, McMahon arrived in Korea in February 1953. He flew 85 artillery-spotting missions in the Cessna OE Bird Dog before returning home in September 1953.

Ed McMahon passed away at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on 23 June 2009.

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