Charles McMahon, Jr

United States Marine Corps
10 May 1953 - 29 April 1975
Woburn, Massachusetts
Panel 01W Line 124


Charles McMahon

Purple Heart, USMC Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Charles McMahon, Jr

25 Jan 2001

Corporal Charles McMahon and LCpl Darwin Judge were the last "Killed In Action" servicemen in the Vietnam War. Cpl McMahon grew up in Woburn, Massachussetts. He completed Marine Corps Boot Camp and Marine Security Guard School before shipping to Saigon as a Marine Security Guard at the American Embassy. Cpl McMahon and LCpl Judge were killed by a rocket attack while defending the Defense Attach´┐Ż Building on Tan Son Nhut Airbase less than two weeks after joining the detachment.

Please visit my
personal memorial
to Charles McMahon.

The following article was written by Kevin Maloney on October 4, 2000:

I went to Woburn, Massachusetts on Saturday 10 September 2000. Steve Bartlett accompanied me. Steve is a former Marine and relative of Charles McMahon. After spending some time at Charlie's gravesite we visited the Boys and Girls Club. A handsome display dedicated to Charlie is in the main room.

Marcia, the receptionist, welcomed us and telephoned two of Charlie's boyhood friends. George Holland and Michael Mulrenan are both former Marines. George served at Henderson Hall in 1975. Michael enlisted shortly thereafter.

Charlie, George, and Michael were inspired to enlist in the Marine Corps by the example of Charles Gardner, the club's executive director. Gardner was a Marine Corps Combat Veteran of the Korean War. The Boy's Club became a de-facto recruiting sub-station. There is a legacy of more than thirty years of unbroken service in the Marine Corps by young men who grew up in the club. Charlie's younger brother Scott also enlisted.

The first of thirteen Woburn men killed in Vietnam was PFC Joseph L. Drew USMC. The last KIA was Charles McMahon Jr. The Drew family sponsors a trophy awarded each year to a Woburn boy or girl who demonstrates character and leadership. Charlie McMahon was awarded that trophy in 1971. That was the same year that Charlie earned the distinction of being named Woburn's "Boy of the Year". Much of Charlie's off time while growing up was centered at the Boy's Club.

Marcia also works for the Woburn newspaper. She sent me copies of the articles about Charles. George and Michael showed me photo albums and shared stories about Charlie.

Woburn sent thirteen of her finest sons to the war in Vietnam, sons that did not return. The town is proud of their sacrifice and honors them. When Charlie's remains were brought home in 1976 the town stopped and held a funeral service. Charlie was buried with full military honors. A USMC color guard and honor guard presided. Mrs. McMahon Sr. was presented the American Flag. Both she and Charles Sr. have since passed away.

The most heart-breaking photograph that I saw was of the funeral service. From a high lectern the minister gestured with both arms raised. Before him was the casket, draped in the American Flag. Seated in a wheel chair was a dress blue clad Marine. Scott McMahon lost both of his legs in an automobile accident near Camp Pendleton.

We had an excellent service in Marshalltown, Iowa, last April. Darwin Judge was honored. We should do the same for Charles McMahon Jr. in Woburn, Massachusetts. The circumstances in Woburn are different from those in Marshalltown. I submit that we take the following course of action:

  1. As a living tribute to Charles, I think that we should locate his brother Scott. Scott has fallen through the crack of drug and alcohol addiction. He was/is under VA care but the family has not had contact with him in several years. Find Scott and render what aid that we can.
  2. The Drew Trophy is 35 years old and is in need of restoration. I recommend that the Saigon Marines Association allocate funds to have it professionally restored.
  3. A Ceremony be held in Charlie's honor on or about 29 April 2001. The Boy's and Girl's Club is presently undergoing redecorating. The Club, for the flag, photos, medals and other items should ready a permanent display and final repository. The Saigon Marines should organize a ceremony.
Please weigh in with your comments.

Kevin M. Maloney

From a fellow Marine,
Colin Broussard

6 Sep 2004

Charlie and I used to hang around together as kids. I miss him - he's in God's Country now. May God Bless him and all our brothers and sisters - past, present, and future veterans... Fairwell, Charlie, from James W. Gentry ... AKA Jimmy Dixon Vietnam vet 69-70

From a childhood friend,
James W. Gentry

02 May 2007

You did a great job and you should really see what's going on in our country today. I'm sure if you were still living you would fight like you did for us before. You are an American hero and we love you!

From a friend,

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Virtual Wall can identify ten men whose military Home of Record is Woburn, Massachusetts:
  • PFC Joseph L. Drew, Bravo 1/9 Marines (12/27/1965)
  • SGT William Cooley, Alpha 2/502nd Infantry (02/09/1966)
  • SN Edward S. O'Brien, USS OZBOURN (DD-846) (12/04/1967)
  • LCPL Russell W. Noyes, Delta 1/9 Marines (04/30/1968)
  • CPL Charles L. O'Neill, H&S Co, 2/4 Marines (07/19/1968)
  • HN Alan R. Gerrish, H&S Co, 3RD MP BN, Marines (09/07/1968) (Navy Cross)
  • WO John R. Frongillo, Bravo 1/9th Cavalry (05/17/1969)
  • PFC David E. Kenney, Delta 4/12th Infantry (06/11/1969)
  • PVT William E. McCormack, Alpha 1/1st Cavalry (09/02/1969)
  • CPL Charles McMahon, E Co, USMC Sec Guard Bn, HQ USMC (04/29/1975)
All ten were killed in action or died from wounds received.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 25 Jan 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009