MacKall, John Thomas “Tommy”, born 17-05-1920 in Columbania County, Ohio, grew up in Wellsville Ohio., first son of Roy Floyd MacKall and Alda May Toland Newton brother Gerald LeRoy “Lefty” MacKall and sister June Rose Mackall Tice. He served in the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, later renamed in the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment , nickname “Geronimos” under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Edson Duncan Raff,. After the war, in 1954, Raff would command the 77th Special Forces Group, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is credited by Lieutenant General William Yarborough (who had served under Raff with the 509th in North Africa) as the “father” of the then-controversial green beret now routinely worn by U.S. Army Special Forces. Raff retired from the army in 1958. Raff died old age 95 on 11-03-2003 in Garnet, Kansas.
During the Allied invasion of North Africa in the airborne segment called Operation Torch, Mackall was mortally wounded during an attack on his aircraft as it landed. MacKall and his fellow paratroopers were on was strafed by French Vichy aircraft while landing near Oran, Algeria. Private MacKall crawled from the aircraft mortally wounded. Seven paratroopers died at the scene and several more were wounded.
Death and burial ground of MacKall, John Thomas “Tommy”.
He was evacuated by air to a British hospital at Gibraltar where he died on 12-11-194, age 22. The U.S. Army Airborne Command was moved to Camp MacKall in early 1943 from Fort Bragg.
The first airborne division headquartered at Camp Mackall was the 11th Airborne Division, nickname “Angels” reporting on 25-02-1943. The 17th Airborne Division, nickname “Golden Talons” was activated there on 25-04-1943. Tommy MacKall’s mother and two brothers were among family members attending the camp dedication on 01-05-1943. A bronze plaque recalling the event which injured Mackall was unveiled at a ceremony that day and installed at the division headquarters building. It was later removed when the camp was dismantled. In the 1970s it was misplaced and never found. A granite monument now stands at the camp entrance. The 13th Airborne Division was activated on 13-08-1943, and moved from Fort Bragg to Camp Mackall in January 1944. Today Camp MacKall is used as the primary training location to become a member of the United States Army Special Forces. Tommy’s brother Gerald MacKall, 502 PIR, was killed in action on 07-07-1944 near St Lo, France. Tommy MacKall was buried on the Glenview Cemetery, East Palestine, Columbiana County, Ohio