Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Lt. Col. Michael J. McMahon

41, of Connecticut.
McMahon died in Bamian, Afghanistan, when his contract aircraft crashed. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Died on November 27, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Lt. Col. Michael J. McMahon.


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"Served in Afghanistan with him, 2004. He would enter the "chow hall" a bright presence, always happy and troops LOVED him. He was good with people. Will never forget, especially when I heard what happened, just unbelievable."
Alison of Wheeler AAF, Hawaii

"I was the one who launched (blocked out) flight 61 with Lt. Col.McMahan. It has haunted me daily why this tragedy occurred but could have been avoided. It was me who went to MOC asking where is my overdue aircraft and no one had answered. I remember when blocked out of chocks flight 61 taxied to MOC then uploaded 2 crates of rockets, Col. McMahon then boarded thru the opened cargo/ramp door. They then taxied for take off. I wish I would have stop everything and cancel takeoff. I live with this daily.
My flight mechanic Mel told me if you make me take this flight you will kill me. I will never forget because I made him conduct the flight. I live this daily."
Ron of Melbourne, Fl.

"Hard to believe over ten years have passed. The entire McMahon family should be aware Mike is never far from the best part of a great town."
Mark Lee of Connecticut

"We attended Michael and Jeanette's wedding at West Point. My husband, Andy was a childhood friend of Michael's. He was an impressive young man with a wonderful family. So sorry he is gone, but so glad he was here."
Karen & Andy Eyers of Milwaukee, WI

"Too bad you had to die from Blackwater foolishness. Hope your family gets rich from the lawsuit."
xe of somewhere, IN

"To the family of:Michael J.McMahon
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga""

"We have just learnt about this horrific event through the CBS website and you and your sons are in our thoughts and prayers!"
Swedish Citizen of Sweden

"No he did not grow up in LI"
A sister of Usa

"I know it states Michael graduated H.S. in CT. But can anyone tell me if this is the same Michael J. Mcmahan who grew up as a child in Sayville, LI. NY? Has an older sister named Maureen. Many thanks"
Todd Stonecypher of Hendersonville, NC.

"Possibley the funniest man Ive evr known. He and his wife were great friends of ours. God bless his family always."
CWO Jayson Kendrick of Russellville, AR

"Blackwater,,,I have talked to them before, I thought they were cowboys..."
Andrew Paulson of Gulf Breeze Florida

I will always remember the SCO taking the time to listen to a young WO1. He was and is still am major influence in my life. We will one day all be on the green, and I imagine he will have a frisbe in his hand and an huge smile on his face.
God Bless"
Eric , Tanya, Aidan and William Travis Leach of Ft. Campbell, Ky

"On the third anniversary of Michael's plane crash his alma mater, Conard High, is hosting a football game under the lights in the state playoffs. I can't help but remember the Indian garb and red and grey face paint that McMahon would wear while leading cheers for the Conard faithful. I have never been a rah-rah guy, but on this day I am going to cheer a little louder, the way Conard's greatest cheerleader would have wanted us to."
John Kilian of Middletown, CT

"November 11, 2007
To the family of Lt. Col. Michael J. McMahon:
Michael gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Reading the messages I can tell what a great person Michael was. I keep looking at the picture of him that appears in a recent issue of MILITARY REVIEW. He really looks like one who has a gift for being able to relate to all people. The caption under the picture speaks of how his "focus on reconstruction and civil-military operations made a difference in the lives of thousands of Afghans." It goes on to say his "untiring efforts and progressive-minded leadership will not be forgotten."

I would love to find out more about Mike's work in Afghanistan. Maybe someone can post some stories about a few of the things he did. I'm sure they would be inspirational and heart warming.

How sad it is when we lose one of our best."
John Stettler of Dallas, Texas

"In memory of Michael McMahon I send my deepest sympathy. As my father died with him I understand how hard things can be especially with two years under your belt. I think about your family often and keep you in my prayers. Please fell free to email me. haley.rowe@pipeline.owens.edu"
Haley (Rowe) Haggard of Toledo, Ohio"
Haley Haggard of Toledo, OH

"Dear Mike: Two years have gone by and our sadness over losing you remains heavy with us. We hope that you are pleased with us as you watch us going about our daily struggles down here without you. Everyone misses you a lot. Marcia and I see many of your family often and they are well. Kelly and Nora just traveled with each of their entire families to see your Mom's best friend in Tacoma - an act of love typical of you and your family. I am sure that you are proud of them all. But we all still miss you as we go about our daily lives down here. Please continue to watch over us and nudge us when we stray.
Give Johnny a hug for me."
Col (Ret) Jack Baumgarten of San Carlos, CA/USA

"I often think about the greatest officer and gentleman I ever met. You're missed deeply, but God deserves the best and He has that in you.

SFC (Ret) E. Thompson"
Eric N Thompson of Savannah, Ga

"Col. McMahon,
Sir, I would like to say thank you to you and the other men who were on that plane with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"The Fourth First!"(4th Cav Motto)"

"The colonel was a great competitor on the soccer field. I played with him 3 days before the tragic event.

He was nothing short of a soldier. He wihtout doubt lead by example. God speed sir, (salute) "All Cav.""
SGT passie of Trinidad and Tobago, N.Y. City U.S.A.

"Memorial Day, 2006 - Remembering and honoring your service and ultimate sacrafice for our country."
Bela Beaupre of Woodbury, CT

"I was deeply saddened when I read of Lt. Col. McMahon's passing. I wish Jeanette and his family all the best. I served under (then) Capt. McMahon in Germany long ago, but always remember his infectious enthusiasm and leadership by example. God bless."
Roy Millwood of Pensacola, FL

"I served with " Iron Mike" in Shindand when I was attached to the 3/4 CAV. Mike was an energetic leader and would not ask a soldier to do what he was not willing to do himself. During the riots in the city of Herat, Mike ordered the UH-60 he was riding in to insert him on the top of a building so that he could provide assistance to UN personell whose compound was being over run by rioting Afghans. This action made Mike the first american on the scene when they called for assistance. Mike was a great man and I will always remember him. May god bless his family and may they find solice and comfort knowing that so many people respect and miss him."
Rich Woods of Lacey Washington

"I, too, took part in the German exchange program at Conard High, during which I had the pleasure of getting to know Mike. I did not learn of his sad passing until recently, while watching a segment on CBS news. Though,outside of the exchange, we did not share the same friendship circle, what I most remember about him is that he was positive, supportive, vivacious and well-liked by every high school "clique" at Conard. This is not surprising, because he was kind and friendly to all. My condolences to all of his friends and family."
Liz Vannah of West Hartford, CT

"I visited Micheal in 1980 in West Hartford, it was the student-exchange between my german school an Conard High. I stayed four weeks with him and his family and it was a wonderful time. His High-school picture is still on the table in my office. Last year I went as a CPT of the German army for about four weeks as an exchange officer of the reserve to Augusta,GA. Today I had to read that Micheal died in Afghanistan. I'm very sad and I feel with his wife, his children, Mom and Dad & his sisters. It was important for me to write these words down. Please give me a pardon for my bad english. God bless you all. Matt Schmidt (matthias.schmidt@bmi.bund.de)"
Matt Schmidt of Berlin, Germany

"Jeanette, I just found out about your loss. I was shocked, stunned and saddened. It is an honor knowing you and caring for you and your family while at Fort Hood. My thoughts and prayers are with you."
Mary DeMark of Eagle River, AK

"Remembering you and all our men and women in uniform this July 4th, 2005. I fly my United States flag proudly and stand behind our military 100%. Every day I check the Defense Link and mourn our nations' losses. My family was also affected personally by the death of a loved one. It has been the hardest tragedy to experience. I pray that your family finds peace, comfort, and strength in God's love. Also, our love never dies. It lives in our hearts forever."
Bela of Woodbury, CT

"To the family and friends,

Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your loved ones bravery and sacrifice. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. Your loved one is a hero. Greater love have no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

God bless you.

Home Front Ministries
Shepherd of the Hills Church
Porter Ranch, CA""

"I wear his bracelet every day. I thank God for his life protecting the United States. My heart felt prayers go out to his family , friends, and commrades."
Jim Bowland of Richarson, Texas

"I am deeply saddened to learn that Mike made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan in service to our great Nation. He was a classmate at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and added something to all our lives every day. He was an amazing officer - exceptionally bright and talented - and one of the funniest people I ever met. He could craft a solution to the most daunting academic problem in one breath, and in the next have people rolling on the floor in laughter. I know he loved his wife Jeanette very much; he spoke of her often. God bless Mike and his family. I will remember them in my prayers."
Paul Holden of Newport, RI

"“Words cannot express……..” I have heard that often these last weeks, and now I feel it is appropriate to use them myself. Words cannot express my thanks to you. Your expression of sympathy and love has sustained me through this period of grief. I have gained the strength to carry on because of your prayers and your friendship. So many small acts of kindness have created a huge reservoir of support, from flowers and food, to travel, and donations to SJV, to remembering all those parts of Mike’s life that we cherished.

To be honest, the grieving comes in waves, thankfully interspersed with wonderful memories full of laughter, relayed by family and friends. The funeral mass, the graveside ceremony, and the reception, were wonderful tributes to a beloved friend, commander, father and husband. As if on cue, Mike’s last letters to us were waiting upon our return; so even though there is a huge hole in our hearts, his memories continue to fill it up. With faith in God we shall remain whole.

Mike always encouraged us to live life to the fullest, and in so doing lived his dream. In keeping with that philosophy I wish you and yours the merriest of Holidays and pray to one of the newest angels (and certainly one of the most energetic) for the safe return of the ¾ Cavalry Regiment and for lasting peace in the New Year.

Loving regards and hugs,
Mike, Thomas, and Ricky"
of Hawaii

""All We Want for Christmas"

Twas the night before Christmas, the house seemed so sad,
Early this year, this family lost “Dad.”
He’d been a soldier, in Afghanistan serving,
To help people live free, now thankful, deserving.
His wife and the kids have cried a river of tears,
They had known this could happen, through all of the years.
It’s a dangerous business, no place for wimps.
Some don’t come home, some others with limps.

As I slipped down the chimney, I really did dread…
That I’d fall straight apart in this house with war dead.
I crept from the hearth, wondering what would I see,
What my eyes would behold, in this land of the free.

The home was decorated, with the tree and some lights
The milk, plate of cookies, and some other tasty bites.
Next to this was a note, from the boys up in bed,
I picked the page up and here’s what it said.

“Dear Santa we know that you’re busy and need to be speedy
So we’ll keep it short, we don’t want to sound greedy.
You know already that our Daddy’s not here,
He went to heaven, that's perfectly clear.

Tonight as you travel across the cold Christmas skies.
We want you to help, take the tears from the eyes.
Of the other kids missing a Mom or a Dad.
Please help them to realize that it’s not so bad.

Our Dad died doing what was just, what was right.
His nation had called him, to head off to the fight.
To free the oppressed and protect us all here,
He went with a smile, a heart without fear.

One month ago, we had gotten the news
An airplane was missing, along with its crew.
Up in the mountains with weather so cold,
One of the missing, our daddy…a pilot, so bold.

Later we learned that God had called him that day
He needed a pilot, so tough and so brave.
We cried and we cried, the tears would not cease,
Daddy’s West Point friends wrote, “Mike…be thou at peace.”

We need your help Santa, for our Mommy tonight,
She misses him so, they were so tight.
All we want for Christmas is for her to be happy,
Knowing Daddy still watches over us, a flier so scrappy.”

Could I help these kids? I scratched my old head.
I snuck up the stairs and found Mom in bed.
Her eyes were still red, it was plain she’d been crying.
But a smile on her face, in her dreams she was flying.

Along with her pilot…her husband…her mate…
This lady was special, so obviously great.
My task wasn’t tough, really it ain’t.
After all, my name is Nicholas and I am a saint!

I straightened my suit, combed back my long hair…
Then as quiet as a mouse, I pulled up a chair.
I touched her calm face and closed tight my eyes…
My mind it was reeling, I started to cry.

Then inside my head, I heard a soft voice…
“Santa it’s Mike. Buck up, you don’t have a choice.
You know where I am…and I’ll tell you quite clear,
If I can’t have Christmas there…it’s not so bad being here.

I’m no longer with them, they know that it’s true,
That doesn’t mean I can’t see what they do.
When you pray for my wife and my kids Christmas night,
Let them know I’m on duty and I am alright.

My crew's here too and we’re flying tonight…
Take a look over your shoulder, make it your right!
You need to be careful. You need to “check six.”
That’s us behind you…Chief, give the lights a few flicks.”

Santa it’s time:
Your job here is through…
The night’s not half over,
you’ve still plenty to do.

No need to worry, you need to be quick.
They’re in great hands, Jeanette’s got the stick,
You prayed for them all and showed them the way,
A soldier still stands guard over them every day.”

I knew Mike was right,
it was getting late.
The world only half covered,
I just couldn’t wait.

I stopped by the rooms of each of his boys…
I had to be careful to avoid clothes and some toys.
Mike Jr., Thomas, and Ricky lay snug in their beds…
I gave this blessing to each as I touched their heads.

“Your daddy was special,
fighting for peace.
May you boys be spared from combat
when all conflicts have ceased.”

With that I took leave from this Hawaiian home,
Through the skies I’d be flying, though not alone.
I did look back a number of times, more than a few.
And yes, on the horizon was my escort crew.

Across the world tonight, I saw the same scenes,
Homes full of sorrow, homes full of need.
After you read this, give it some thought.
Can I be happy with just what I’ve got?

Dig deep into your pockets, you’ve got spare cash.
Drop it in the kettle; it’ll help tighten your sash.
It will make you feel good; it will make you feel right…
Merry Christmas to all, and to all….a good night!

In memory of LTC Mike McMahon (USMA Class of 1985), and his family."
Jim Neumiller of Ft. Hood, Texas

"Mac, I mourn your departure far ahead of your time. It was my honor to serve with you. We from Osan gathered here in your memory, both your ROK and US compatriots. Your impact and legacy live on. Would that we may some day be half the professional that you were...
See you on Fiddler's Green, my friend."
COL Steve Mullins of Seoul, Korea

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Michael, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"I graduated from Conard High School in West Hartford, CT, with Mike. I didn't know him very well, but always admired how he always had a certain air of pride and confidence around him. He showed up at one of our reunions years later in full military regalia with that same pride and confidence. My heart goes out to his family and friends."
Paul Lashin of New York, NY

"To Michael's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our son returned safely from Afghanistan, only to lose his life in Iraq. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX

leonard wahl of Valley Stream Long Island

"There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To the Family of LTC Michael J. McMahon, Please except our condolences in your loss. As the parents of another fallen 25th ID soldier we know your pain and heart ache. Our son Sgt Daniel Lee Galvan died in the crash of a UH-60 Blackhawk in Salerno, Afghanistan on Aug 12, 2004. Michael will always be in our hearts and prayers."
Blas & Nelda Galvan, mourning but proud parents of Sgt Daniel Lee Galvan of Moore, OK

"Thank you Michael McMahon, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Lt. Col. Michael McMahon:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Michael for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Lt. Col. Michael McMahon:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Michael, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on