Colonel MJ McMahon was commissioned into the RCT in 1980, and was CO 4 GS Regt RLC 2000 ‘ 2003. In 2006, he left the British Army, moved down under and joined the Australian Army.
In January 2015 he started a 12 month tour of duty in Kabul as the Senior Logistic Adviser to the Afghan MOD and Afghan National Army. On 11 October 2015 an RAF Puma crashed in the main camp housing HQ IASF. 5 people on board were killed, and four survived. Colonel McMahon watched the aircraft crash 30 metres in front of him, and immediately got to work with several others for the next three hours extracting and treating casualties.
On 17 August 2016, he was informed that, as a result of his actions he had been awarded the Australian Bravery Medal, the Australian third level of bravery awarded for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. A rough equivalent to the British QGM.
Colonel Michael John McMAHON,
“On the afternoon of 11 October 2015, Colonel McMahon was involved in the rescue of several people following a fatal helicopter crash in Kabul, Afghanistan.
At about 4.15pm a British Royal Air Force Puma helicopter crashed on a road junction in Kabul in front of Colonel McMahon. He immediately ran towards the downed aircraft along with other civilians. There was a significant amount of aviation fuel pouring from the ruptured tanks and the cockpit had been partially torn open, with one of the two pilots showing signs of life.
As he prepared to climb into the passenger compartment, fire extinguishers were activated, releasing intensely noxious fumes and smoke. Anyone near the aircraft was forced to withdraw until the fumes subsided. He then assisted with the removal of the injured from the aircraft and their transport to the Role 1 Medical Centre.
By this time a large crowd began to assemble, impeding rescue activities. Colonel McMahon immediately assumed the role of command and control, establishing an initial cordon and checking surrounding buildings and moving all non-essential persons outside of the perimeter. He also established communication links with, and facilitated the arrival on site of, Royal Air Force personnel to switch off the helicopter’s batteries and remove the potential of ignition of the leaking fuel.
Colonel McMahon remained at the crash site and advised Medical Centre staff regarding the casualties being extracted, and ensuring the resupply of medical items to the team treating the injured.
By his actions, Colonel McMahon displayed considerable bravery.”