Humboldt County Man, World War II Veteran and POW, Honored Today as Veteran of the Year

Thomas McMahon, Esq

Assemblyperson Jim Woods hands Thomas McMahon a plaque honoring him. [All photos from Assemblyperson Jim Wood]

World War II veteran and POW Thomas McMahon, Esq., was honored today as Assembly District 2’s Veteran of the Year. McMahon, 92 years old, lives in Humboldt County. He is the father-in-law of recently retired Sheriff Mike Downey.

Assemblymember Jim Wood who representing our District posted today on his Facebook page that McMahon served “on the Eastern Front as a B-17 tail gunner.”

“Shot down over France, he was captured and spent more than 3 years as a POW,” Wood posted. “He earned more than a dozen prestigious medals, including the Purple Heart.”

When McMahon came back to the states, Wood said, “he worked as a firefighter and teacher, later earning a law degree.” He has nine children including his daughter, Annette, who is married to former Humboldt County Sheriff, Mike Downey.

In 2014, the Redwood Times posted a story on McMahon’s life. It includes details about when his plane was shot down. The article relates,

He bailed out of the tail section near the French-Belgian border and parachuted down to a field, landing so hard that at first he couldn’t move. A 12-year old French boy who had seen him come down used hand signals to urge McMahon to get up, then helped him get to a nearby chicken coop, where McMahon spent his first night in hiding.

To read the rest of the story, click here. 

Thomas McMahon and his family with Assemblyperson Wood.

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