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McMahan, James C.


Rank: Aviation Radioman 1st Class
Serial Number: 2955016
Military Branch: VP-84
Origin: Tennessee
Date of Death: 2003-7-23
Featured: No

James Carl McMahan was born September 15, 1914. He was one of 3 children of James and Laura McMahan. He enlisted in the regular Navy October 24, 1939 and served in several stations befor leaving the service in 1947.

McMahan had a varied career in the Navy. After enlisting in 1939 in Nashville, Tennessee, Navy Muster Rolls show him as S2c stationed in San Diego and reporting March 8, 1940 on the USS Relief, AH-1, a hospital ship. He was promoted to S1c about September 1940. He shows this rank until May 1941, then shows on the September 1941 rolls as RM3c. In March of 1942, still on the Relief, he is shown as RM2c. He is shown as ARM2c on the USS Quick, DD490 in August of 1942. The next entry shows him on the USS Essex, CV-9, on April 16, 1944 as ACRMA, then the USS Roosevelt, CVB-42 on January, 1947 as ACRM. The last entry appears to be his departure date of March 27, 1947. There are some unexplained gaps in the record, but his Air Medal substantiates his VP-84 service.

ARM1c McMahan's group includes his original bar mounted medal group of Air Medal, Navy Good Conduct medal impressed on the reverse "James Carl McMahan 1942", American Defense medal with Fleet bar, American Campaign medal, and European Campaign medal. Also included is his engraved ID braclet that is impressed on the reverse "1/8 GF 10K LGB"

VP-84 was established in NAS Norfolk Virginia in October 1941. They flew amphibious PBY-5A's. They were stateside until 1 June 1942 when it was transferred to NAS Argentia, Newfoundland. It was then transferred to FAB Reykjavik, Iceland in September 1942 where it relieved VP-73. VP-84 was in Iceland until September 1943, when it returned stateside. The book “US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Atlantic War (Combat Aircraft)” gives a good account of this unit's accomplishments. Both VP-73 and VP-84 were responsible for sinking many U-boats in the North Atlantic.

ARM1c Mcmahan was awarded his air medal by recommendation of the commanding officer of VP-84 between March and December of 1943, Commander Poyntell C. Staley, Jr. The award was made February 15, 1945. A copy of the award card accompanies this group.

The award reads: “For outstanding performance of duty and meritorious achievement while participating in an unusually large number of aerial flights during the winter season, over North Atlantic waters while engaged in anti-submarine warfare.

J.C. McMahan, ARM1c, USN as a member of the crew of a patrol bomber airplane participated in many long range anti-submarine search operations and convoy coverages under extremely adverse weather conditions involving constant hazards due to icing, low visibility and blizzards.

As a result of these operations, valuable convoys were afforded protection and enemy U-boat activities were effectively reduced.”