FORT A.P. HILL, Va.- The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Center here was renamed Nov. 6 to honor Capt. Jason T. McMahon, an EOD Soldier who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Sept. 5, 2010.
McMahon was the company commander of the 744th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 184th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion at the time of his death. He was leading a patrol in Laghman Province, when enemy insurgents attacked it.
During the firefight he exposed himself to withering enemy fire to ensure his Soldiers could use the limited cover available. While directing his Soldiers' fire toward the enemy he was critically wounded and later died from his wounds. His actions ensured his Soldiers' safety and saved their lives.
McMahon's widow Jennifer and daughters Trinity, McKenzie and Azlyn and McMahon's brother Ty attended Wednesday's ceremony.
Col. Jack Haley, the Army's 38th Chief of Ordnance and Commandant of the U.S. Army Ordnance School, Fort Lee, Va. was the featured speaker at Wednesday's ceremony. Haley said it was a privilege to honor one of our nation's heroes by naming the EOD Training Center after him.
"Just over three years ago Capt. Jason McMahon paid the ultimate sacrifice for which he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star," Haley said. "Jason's heroism stands as a demonstration of the finest quality of our troops. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Jason's life and service as an American soldier, a hero, husband, father and friend."
Following his remarks Haley and Command Sgt. Maj. Clinton G. Hall, the Ordnance Regimental Command Sergeant Major, presented Jennifer McMahon the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe on behalf of her husband. The Sharpe award recognizes individuals who have served the Ordnance Corps with integrity, moral character and professional competence and whose selfless contributions stand out in the eyes of their seniors, peers and subordinates.
Haley, Hall and Jennifer McMahon then unveiled the bronze plaque that will be mounted on the EOD Training Complex. Haley and Hall presented Jennifer McMahon with a framed replica of the plaque and a certificate.
Col. Mark A. Fitch, Chief, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Directorate and Marcus E. Markham, Director, Munitions and EOD Training Department then joined Haley, Hall and McMahon for the ribbon cutting which symbolized the official opening of the Capt. Jason T. McMahon EOD Training Center.
After the ceremony Ty McMahon gazed at his brother's plaque and said that naming the training center after Jason meant a lot to him and his family.
"It shows how my brother performed his duties above and beyond expectations of everybody," McMahon said. "He was the perfect Soldier, a perfect family guy, he was a good brother. This means a lot."
Jennifer McMahon said the honor symbolized what Jason did in the Army.
"He influenced a lot of people and a lot of Soldiers, that's what his main goal was," she said. "He was good at teaching; even though he was a captain and had all those guys under him he took on teaching as a second role. He definitely had the demeanor to be the leader and do those things.
"It means a lot to us and I know it means a lot to this unit and people surrounding it. This is an occasion that will stick with us and will show the girls what he's done and what he means to all these gentlemen and ladies. It's very special."
Capt. Greg Abide, the commander of 55th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), Fort Belvoir, Va., served as one of McMahon's platoon leaders in Afghanistan. He said that naming the facility after Jason McMahon was a chance to honor a great man.
"He's one of the best," Abide said. "It's a small honor that we can bestow on a great man who really cared for all of the Soldiers around him. Those who were able to learn from him were very fortunate; it's fitting his name be here."