Private Mackall, a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment which was part of the invading force that landed in North Africa early in November of 1942. Tommy was one of the first airborne soldiers to give his life there.
PVT Mackall was born March 17, 1920 at Negley/Wellsville, Ohio. He was inducted into military service January 7, 1942 and received his basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas. Tommy left for overseas duty with the first unit of the airborne command. During Operation Torch, the plane in which he was flying was attacked by three Vichy French enemy pursuit ships; it made an emergency landing and Private Mackall was wounded on November 8, 1942 in the strafing that occurred afterwards. This was the same day construction began at Camp Hoffman (later Camp Mackall) in North Carolina.
Tommy 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.
He was buried with full military honors at the base of the Rock of Gibralter before he was re-intered next to his brother Corporal Gerald ackall at the Glenview Cemetery in East Palestine, Columbiana County, Ohio. CPL Mackall was also KIA near St. Lo, France during the Normandy campaign.
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.