Marine Fighter Pilot Dies at 86

Colonel Ed McMahon (USMC, retired) died today.

McMahon passed away peacefully shortly after midnight at the Ronald Reagan/UCLA Medical Center, his publicist, Howard Bragman, said today. He was hospitalized in February with pneumonia and other medical problems.

When World War Two broke out Ed wanted to be a pilot. He enlisted in 1943 and earned his pilot’s license while being evaluated for the Navy’s cadet evaluation program at Boston College. After being checked out in the Piper Cub he was assigned to the Marine Corps.

McMahon earned his wings and was commissioned early in 1945.

He flew the F4U Corsair and was immediately assigned to instructor duty at Lee Field in Florida. On 6 August he was given orders to join the Marine carrier program in California. With the dropping of the atomic bomb, his orders were canceled and he was discharged.

In 1952 he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. He flew artillery spotting missions in the O-1E Bird Dog. Completing 85 missions, he was awarded six Air Medals. After the war he retired from the Marine Reserves as a Colonel and was promoted to Brigadier General of the California Air National Guard.

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