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2Lt Martin E. Mahannah
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Birth: Sep. 25, 1919
Wichita
Sedgwick County
Kansas, USA
Death: Jun. 4, 1942
Midway Islands, UMI

Martin Edward Mahannah was the son of Jefferson Mahannah and Gertrude_______. He was born on September 25, 1919, in Wichita but was raised with his two older siblings in Augusta, Kansas. The 1920 U.S. Census showed the following information on the family:
Head Jefferson E Mahannah M 28 Illinois
Wife Gertrude H Mahannah F 27 Kansas
Son Joseph A Mahannah M 4 Kansas
Son Lynn M Mahannah M 2 Kansas
Son Martin E Mahannah M 0 Kansas

Martin enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on February 2, 1940 at St. Louis, Missouri. He was sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, California, for boot camp and is recorded in the 1940 U.S. Census as being there with the rank of Private. After completing his training he was given orders to report to Headquarters Company, Second Battalion, Eighth Marines. In August, he was promoted to Private First Class (PFC) and the very next month was appointed a Corporal. Both ratings were temporary, and his duties with the company are unknown. By October, Martin began training in Portland, Oregon, in aerial observation and navigation. He performed at a superior level in this training and showed a great interest in an aviation career. In 1941, he entered aviation training. Martin completed the training to qualify as a fighter pilot and received his gold Navy wings and a Second Lieutenant's commission in 1942.

Martin's first posting as a Marine Corps pilot was with VMF-221 on Midway Island. He was assigned to fly an obsolete F2A-3 Brewster "Buffalo" with the squadron's Third Division. Martin was the wingman of Second Lieutenant Charles Kunz. He would be with the squadron for a little over a week.

On the morning of June 4, 1942, Martin had been sitting in the cockpit of his plane since approximately 0515, waiting for orders to take off on an aerial patrol. At 0545 the duty officer, Lieutenant Musselman, drove a Jeep down the flight line calling for the Third Division to start up their engines and head for the skies. Martin followed Lieutenant Kunz into the air, and almost immediately engaged Japanese fighter aircraft. Kunz and Martin soon were separated in the battle, each fighting their own war against the Japanese. (**See note below)

Martin's last moments may have been seen by those on the ground. A statement by Second Lieutenant H. Phillips, written on June 6, 1942 reported:
"During the action I saw a Brewster fighter cut across the NE tip of Eastern Island to help out another Brewster. This Brewster was shot down by a Zero fighter. The pilot baled out and the Zero fighter, with another, strafed the pilot about three times each."

On June 9, one of Midway's patrol boats spotted a body that had washed up on the reef. The remains were identified as being Mahannah's. A Navy corpsman who examined the body determined that Mahannah had indeed been strafed after jumping from his aircraft, either in his parachute or on the reef.

It is unknown what happened to Mahannah's remains after that. He was either buried on Midway and the site lost, or he was buried at sea.

Mahannah was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions over Midway. His citation reads as follows:

"The Navy Cross is presented to Martin E. Mahannah, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and conspicuous devotion to duty as a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VMF-221), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942. Delivering a dauntless and aggressive attack against a vastly superior number of Japanese bomber and fighter planes, Second Lieutenant Mahannah aided in disrupting the plans of the enemy and lessening of the effectiveness of their attack, thereby contributing materially to the success of our forces. As a result of his courageous and daring tactics and because of the circumstances attendant upon this engagement, there can be little doubt that Second Lieutenant Mahannah gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. He displayed the characteristics of an excellent airman in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Approved by the Secretary of the Navy on November 10, 1942"

Second Lieutenant Martin Edward Mahannah, Sn# O-09397, earned the following badges/decorations for his service to the United States Marine Corps during World War II:
- Navy Gold Pilot Wings
- Navy Cross Medal
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- American Defense Service Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with one bronze battle/campaign star
- World War II Victory Medal

Mahannah's family had the government place a cenotaph headstone in remembrance of Martin at the Hillside Cemetery Sedgwick, Harvey County, Kansas. This gravestone may be viewed at Find-A-Grave memorial #8273507.

**NOTE** - Lt. Charles McKee Kunz survived the Battle of Midway but was shot down and wounded. He would fly again during the war but over Guadalcanal and was killed in action in August, 1943.

**NOTE** - A large portion of this bio is based on information from the website missingmarines.com. They have done a fantastic job of researching approximately 3000 US Marines whose bodies were lost in the war. This writer wholeheartedly recommends their site for researchers or families of the missing. - Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR {RET})

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  J. Edward Mahannah (1891 - 1961)
  Gertrude Merry Mahannah (1892 - 1968)
 
 Sibling:
  Joseph Mahannah (1915 - 2000)**
  Martin E. Mahannah (1919 - 1942)
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Note: Entered the service from Kansas.
 
Burial:
Honolulu Memorial *
Honolulu
Honolulu County
Hawaii, USA
Plot: Courts of the Missing
*Cenotaph [?]
 
Maintained by: Rick Lawrence
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56124096
2Lt Martin E. Mahannah
Added by: Sherry SH
 
2Lt Martin E. Mahannah
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Karin Green
 
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

In honored remembrance of your valiant service and ultimate sacrifice for our great nation and the Allied cause during World War II. May it not have been in vain. Semper Fidelis!
- Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR (RET)
 Added: Dec. 6, 2013
May you Rest in Peace
- David & Deena Gibson
 Added: Apr. 12, 2013
 
 
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