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Famous Veterans Born On This Day: Ed McMahon

March 6, 2019

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00am on of March, repeating indefinitely

Born March 6, 1923:

Ed McMahon – Johnny Carson’s sidekick on the Tonight Show – (Marine Corps) – Died: June 23, 2009

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McMahon hoped to become a United States Marine Corps fighter pilot. Prior to the US entry into World War II, both the Army and Navy required pilot candidates to attend at least two years of college. McMahon studied at Boston College from 1940 to 1941. On The Howard Stern Show in 2001, he stated that after Pearl Harbor was attacked, the college requirement remained in effect and he still had to finish his two years of college before applying for Marine Corps flight training.

After completing the college requirement, McMahon began his primary flight training in Dallas. This was followed by fighter training in Pensacola, where he also earned his carrier landing qualifications. He was a Marine Corps flight instructor in F4U Corsairs for two years, finally being ordered to the Pacific fleet in 1945. However, his orders were canceled after the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, forcing Japan’s unconditional surrender.

As an officer in the reserves, McMahon was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He flew an OE-1 (the original Marine designation for the unarmed single-engine Cessna O-1 Bird Dog) spotter plane, serving as an artillery spotter for Marine batteries and a forward controller for Navy and Marine fighter bombers. He flew a total of 85 combat missions, earning six Air Medals. After the war, he stayed with the Marines as a reserve officer, retiring in 1966 as a colonel. In 1982, McMahon received a state commission as a brigadier general in the California Air National Guard, an honorary award to recognize his support for the National Guard and Reserves.

Check out 100s of celebrities including singers, writers, Oscar winning movie stars, Emmy winning television stars, Broadway actors, song writers, Super Bowl winning athletes, artist, painters, sculptors, movers and shakers and more who all proudly served in the United States Armed Forces: FamousVeterans.com.