Sunday, September 05, 2010

Army Capt. Jason T. McMahon

Remember Our Heroes

Army Capt. Jason T. McMahon, 35, of Mulvane, Kan.

Capt. McMahon was assigned to the 184th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Sept. 5, 2010 in Bagram, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire in Jalalabad.

Capt. Jason T. McMahon disabled more than 200 explosive devices the past several years in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He once even disarmed a bomb with a broken leg, which earned him the Purple Heart.

Those are examples of McMahon's courage his father remembered Tuesday as he waited for his son's body to return home to Mulvane for burial.

McMahon's explosive ordnance disposal unit received indirect fire from insurgents in Jalahabad, Afghanistan, the Army said. McMahon was shot and died of his wounds Sunday at Bagram Airfield.

"He lived the life of that guy in the movie, what was it called?" Ron McMahon said Tuesday.

"The Hurt Locker," said his wife, Sherry, Jason's mother.

"When he saw the movie, he laughed and said, 'That's what I do,' " Ron McMahon said.

Otherwise, Jason McMahon kept quiet about the dangerous details of his job.

"He would say, 'I'd love to tell you but I can't tell you,' " Ron McMahon said.

Ron McMahon coached at Mulvane High School and remembered his son learning a sense of adventure in athletics.

"He was aggressive, I'd say that," Ron McMahon said.

Jason McMahon joined the National Guard as a senior in high school to earn money for college, his father said. Jason went to Emporia State, where he participated in ROTC.

But he became impatient waiting to graduate and enter the military as a commissioned officer. As a junior at Emporia, he left college to enlist.

"He started from the bottom and worked his way up," Ron McMahon said.

That was 1996. Over the next dozen years, Jason McMahon served in the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, and as an Army Ranger.

"He thought that was boring," Ron McMahon said of the Rangers. "So he went to learn EOD."

In Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Jason McMahon again worked his way from the bottom to commanding a unit as a lieutenant, his father said.

McMahon earned his officer's commission in 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in September 2008, the Army said.

His father remembered one operation during a deployment in Iraq:

Jason McMahon reached for an explosive device and fell down a 20-foot culvert, breaking his leg amid gunfire.

"He was there all night before they could rescue him," Ron McMahon remembered. "But the next day, he wouldn't fly out until he finished the job."

He said his son returned to dismantle the bomb with a broken leg.

"We almost lost him on that," Ron McMahon said.

Jason McMahon commanded the 744th Explosive Ordnance Company, 184th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

He earned more than 20 commendations, including the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.

He lived with his wife, Jennifer, and their three daughters — Azlyn, 3, McKenzie, 7, and Trinity, 9 — in Dover, Tenn.

"My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to the McMahon family,'' U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, said in a statement. "God bless Captain McMahon and all of our soldiers who put their life on the line each day to keep our country safe and protect the freedoms we enjoy every day."

Ron McMahon said his son became a commander who never forgot what it was like to hold the bottom rank.

"When his troops were tired, he'd go out and work in their place," Ron McMahon said. "He was extremely dedicated."

He joined the Army in November 1996, gained his commission in 2006, and arrived at Fort Campbell in September 2008. His awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Accommodation; Valorous Unit Award; Meritorious Unit Citation; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Expeditionary Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Air Assault Badge; Combat Action Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; Master EOD Badge; Parachutists Badge; and the Ranger Tab.

McMahon is survived by his wife, Jennifer L. McMahon, and daughters Trinity B., McKenzie J., and Azlyn J. McMahon, all of Dover, Tenn.; father, Ronald McMahon; and mother, Sherry McMahon, both of Mulvane, Kan.

Army Capt. Jason T. McMahon was killed in action on 9/5/10.

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