Attending the May 1, 1943 renaming ceremony of Camp Hoffman to Camp Mackall was the family of PVT John T. "Tommy" Mackall for whom the post is named.
Tommy's family watched a bronze plaque unveiled to commemorate his death in Algeria. The plaque was installed at Airborne Command's headquarters building where it remained until the camp was dismantled. The plaque was removed, and then misplaced in the 1970s and no one has seen it since. A new granite monument now stands at the camp entrance.
Pictured here (left to right) are Colonel Olsmith (Post Commander), General Elbridge G. Chapman (Commander, Airborne Command), PVT Mackall’s Mother Ada May Toland Newton, June Mackall (John’s Sister-16 yrs old), Gerald Mackall and Robert Mackall (John’s younger brothers). Corporal Gerald Mackall was later KIA on July 7, 1944 near St Lo, France in the Normandy campaign.
About Private John T. Mackall:
Private Mackall, a member of a parachute unit which was part of the invading force that landed in North Africa early in November, was one of the first airborne soldiers to give his life there. He was born March 17, 1920 at Negley, Ohio. He was inducted into military service January 7, 1942 and received his basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas. He left for overseas duty with the first unit of the airborne command. He died November 12, 1942. The plane in which he was flying was attacked by three enemy pursuit ships; it made an emergency landing and Private Mackall was wounded in the strafing that occurred afterwards. He was buried with full military honors at the base of the Rock of Gibralter before he was intered next to his brother Gerald at the Glenview Cemetery in East Palestine, Columbiana County, Ohio.
Copyright © www.511pir.com
The boys of the 511th PIR enjoyed Camp Mackall's superior facilities when not out on several-day bivouacs or long marches. Out of 12,000 volunteers, only 2,176 remained, having passed (i.e. survived) Colonel Orin Haugen's strict acceptance guidelines. At Mackall the soldiers practiced field problems and got to know the other units in their mother organization, the 11th Airborne Division under Major-General Joseph May Swing.All photos unless otherwise noted are Copyright © www.511pir.com