Opened six weeks prior to the 511th PIR’s arrival, the 56,000-acre post (a sub-installation of Fort Bragg) was originally named Camp Hoffman after the nearby rail station. On February 8, the War Department issued General Order Number 6 renaming the post after Wellsville, Ohio's Private John T. Mackall, a paratrooper from Company E, 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment who was killed by strafing Vichy French fighters during Operation Torch. Mackall was wounded on November 8, the same day construction began at Hoffman, then died in Algeria at a British hospital three days later on November 12, 1942, making him the first (by name release) American paratrooper killed in combat.
On May 1, during Camp Mackall’s official name change dedication at the Mackall Airport, Colonel Orin D. "Hard Rock" Haugen’s 511th PIR troopers were relegated to crowd control before the ceremony commenced with a fitting tribute paid to Tommy by Major General E. Gerry Chapman, Commanding General aibrorne command, and Colonel Vernon G. Olsmith, post commander.
A crowd of 10.000 persons witnessed the demonstration and dedication exercises, then bugler PVT Billy J. Horn of HQ1-511 blasted a call. The entire 11th Airborne then passed in review for General Swing, Post Commander Colonel Vernon G. Olsmith, MG Gerry Chapman of Airborne Command, and Ada May Toland Newton, mother of Pvt. John T. “Tommy” Mackall for whom the camp was being named.
The 11th Airborne took twenty minutes to pass and every Angel solemnly saluted Mrs. Mackall.
A special news correspondent wrote, "Thrilling and colorful was the passing in review of the 11th airborne division, commanded by Major General Joseph M. Swing. It is one of the newest airborne divisions of many more to come and drew high praise from military and civilian leaders here today on their rapid progress in training."