George Mallon

George Henry Mallon was born on June 15, 1877 in Ogden, Riley County, Kansas, the second child of ten and first son to parents Robert Currie Mallon and Emma L. Stephens. George’s father, Robert C. had emigrated at ten years old with his parents and siblings from County Tyrone, Ulster, Ireland in 1850.

Three days after George Mallon turned 21 years old he joined the military for the first time on June 18, 1898 as a member of the 22nd Kansas Volunteer Infantry until November 3rd of the same year in the Spanish-American War as a private.


Mallon's second enlistment was on January 7, 1899 at Fort Riley, Kansas when he enlisted for the Philippine Campaign.  George was #17 in the register, 12th U.S. Infantry, Company K and “discharged on January 6, 1902 at sea on the Warren by expiration of service, rank - Sergeant." and notation of his service record was “Excellent.”


Inexplicably, on January 29, 1902, he was listed as an invalid. Despite that, at age 29 George married Effie Gladys Campbell in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas on December 22, 1906.


After leaving the Army for the second time, George tried his hand in the field of amateur boxing and was pretty good at it. However, he was never good enough to enter the pro ranks and after a year or so, gave it up.


In 1909 George and Effie moved to Minnesota, where George first worked installing automatic sprinkler systems for a fire extinguisher company.   After the U.S. entered WWI, when the government called for candidates for officers’ training camps, he volunteered. He was 40 years old at the time. After a three-month training period at the first Fort Snelling camp, he was commissioned a Captain in the infantry section of the National Army. He was assigned to “E” Company, 132nd Regiment, 33rd Division and stationed at Camp Logan, Texas from September 6, 1917 until May 5, 1918 when they were sent to Hoboken, New Jersey.


They embarked from Hoboken on the ship Mt. Vernon on May 16th and arrived at Brest, France on May 26, 1918 as part of the American Expeditionary Force. Captain Mallon was on the Western Front in France from June 1918 to August 1918 and first went into battle on July 4, 1918 at Hamel, France. From August 1918 to October 1918, they were part of the American Front in France.


Capt. Mallon participated in battles at Hamel, the Somme Offensive, Boise de Forges and Meuse Argonne. “The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, also known as the Mass-Argonne Offensive and the Battle of the Argonne Forest, was a major part of the final Allied Offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front.


The Americans faced the most difficult natural obstacle: the dense Argonne Forest. General John Pershing’s opening surprise attack advanced 5 miles (8 km) along the Meuse River but only 2 miles (3 km) in the difficult Argonne Forest sector. It was fought from September 26, 1918, until the Armistice of 11 November 1918, a total of 47 days.  The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest in United States military history.

On the first day of this offensive, September 26, 1918, “in the Bois-de-Forge campaign at the battle of Forges Woods, 41 year-old Captain Mallon along with nine men became separated from the balance of his company because of a fog. Captain Mallon, with his nine soldiers, pushed forward and attacked nine active hostile machine guns, capturing all of them without the loss of a man. Continuing on through the woods, he led his men in attacking a battery of four 155-millimeter howitzers, which were in action, rushing the position and capturing the battery and its crew. In this encounter, Captain Mallon personally attacked one of the enemy with his fists. Later, when the party came upon two more machine guns, this officer sent men to the flanks while he rushed forward directly in the face of the fire and silenced the guns, being the first one of the party to reach the nest. The exceptional gallantry and determination displayed by Captain Mallon resulted in the capture of 100 prisoners, eleven machine guns, four 155- millimeter howitzers and one anti-aircraft gun.”


Five days later on October 1, 1918, one of the casualties of this battle was Captain Mallon as he was wounded by a high explosive in his right thigh at Meuse River. He was under medical care at Base Hospital #35, in Mars, France from October 1 to January 14, 1919. He was not permanently disabled and arrived at Hoboken, New Jersey on May 17, 1919. He was discharged from service at Camp Grant, Illinois on June 20, 1919 as a Captain and had turned 41 years old five days earlier.


Before Captain Mallon left France, on January 22, 1919, he was named one of General John J. Pershing’s 100 heroes of World War I. On February 2, 1919 General Pershing presented to Captain Mallon the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry on September 26, 1918 at the battle of Forges Woods. He received the “French Legion of Honor” and the French “Croix de Guerre with Palm” and was decorated by Vice Admiral Mabeau of the French Navy for the above acts.


Captain Mallon returned to Minneapolis, Minnesota but did not resume his former activities in civil life, as his injured leg was not as strong as formerly. Instead he accepted a position with the Building Trades Council of Minneapolis.

Captain Mallon also became involved in politics and ran for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican ticket. The Working People’s Non-partisan Political League endorsed him and those on his ballot on June 21, 1920. Capt. Mallon’s ticket lost the primary by 15% of the vote. The League promoted an alternative veterans' organization. Based in Minneapolis -and sustained by the Nonpartisan League-the World War Veterans hoped to be a more sympathetic version of the American Legion. Capt. Mallon became the most prominent member.


Early in 1934, Captain Mallon had a stroke and was taken to the veteran’s hospital at Fort Snelling. On March 1st he was transferred to the St. Cloud VA Hospital where he died August 2, 1934 at age 57.


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