NO. 17911 • 1 December 1927 - 3 April 2011
Died 3 April 2011 in Melbourne, Florida, aged 83 years.
Interment: West Point Cemetery. West Point, New York
Jack Vincent Mackmull was born in Dayton, OH, to Melford F. and Olivia A Mackmull. He attended Roosevelt High School. The Roosevelt "Teddy Times" newspaper graduation issue displayed each graduate's picture and noted for Jack, "Happy and smiling, athletic, smart, friendly, and loyal." Jack was considered one of the city's top athletes, winning letters in football, basketball, and baseball.
Upon graduation from high school, Jack had numerous offers of college scholarships but "destiny" stepped in and offered him a chance to attend West Point if he could pass the entrance exam, which he did. Jack entered West Point in July 1946 with the Class of 1950. He wasn't the "Happy and smiling Jack" that first year and would later laugh and say, "The only good thing that year was plebe Xmas." The years did improve. He was on the varsity football team and baseball team all four years and graduated in June 1950, selecting Infantry as his Army basic branch. Eleven days after graduation he married his high school sweetheart, Beverly Marie Boehm, and during their 60 years of marriage they had three children: Jack Jr., Stephen Jeffery, and Kimberly Ann.
Second Lieutenant Mackmull's first duty station was Alaska for two years, back to Ft. Bragg for two years, and then to Korea. When he returned from Korea, Jump and Aviation schools came next. Jack was selected for the Command and General Staff School in 1960 and remained on as an instructor.
The following was said at Jack's induction into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame: "Few Army Aviators have had the variety of important aviation assignments throughout a career as Lieutenant General Jack V. Mackmull." While Chief of the AWO Branch during the early days of the Vietnam War, he managed the greatest expansion in the history of the branch. Recognizing that Aviation Warrant Officers had no definite career program, he personally wrote the forerunner of today's Aviation Warrant Officer Program.
He had three combat aviation tours in Vietnam, first commanding the 13th CAB in 1964, and then one of only three aviation battalions in USARV. On his second tour, he commanded the 164th CAG that included all aviation in the Mekong Delta and effectively integrated Air Cavalry, airmobile, and attack helicopters and aviation logistics in all combat operations.
In 1972, he returned to USARV for a third tour to command the 1st Aviation Brigade, which encompassed all Army Aviation in Vietnam. He effectively managed the drawdown of all aviation units and equipment - a retrograde movement of some 15,000 men and more than 1,000 aircraft - without stopping aviation combat operations.
As Deputy Commanding General of AVSCOM, he participated in the source selection of the Black Hawk and Apache, and designed and implemented "Systems Management" which is used today. As the Commanding General of the JFK Special Warfare Center, he established the original requirement for Aviation and Tiltrotor Support of Special Operations Forces and helped organize the Delta Force and Special Operation Aviation.
As Assistant Division Commander, and later as Commanding General of the 101st Air Assault Division, Lieutenant General Mackmull designed and implemented the Combat Aviation Management System, several FM's on Air Assault Operations, and preselected aviation battle drills. While at Ft. Campbell, he organized Task Force 160, a major innovation.
In 1982, Lieutenant General Mackmull chaired the Tactical Employment Committee at the Army Aviation Review. This committee's actions led to the establishment of the Army Aviation Branch and recognition of the requirement for the helicopter-air-to-air combat. He completed his career as Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps.
This highly decorated and respected Combat Infantryman, Special Forces Officer, and Master Parachutist has been called "Mr. Aviation" by the Chief of Staff and FORSCOM and TRADOC commanders. He considered his greatest award to be Master Army Aviator.
After Jack's retirement in June 1983, he continued his association with the Army by acting as a consultant on Army, Special Operations Forces, and computerized Command and Control Systems.
Jack always made time (when not overseas) for his children while they were growing up: school, work, Boy Scouts, hunting, fishing, swim team instructor, basketball, baseball, and golf. He was a loving and devoted father and had the patience of Job.
Jack called Charleston, SC, his home for ten years after retirement. In 1995, Jack and Bev moved to the Indian River Colony Club (IRCC) retirement community in Melbourne, FL. Jack was active in IRCC, serving a term on the Board of Directors. While on the Board, Jack served as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. He also managed the development and installation of the fitness center and was actively involved in the IRCC chapel. After a round of golf (every week) Jack was a fountain of fascinating stories with his "beer group" (he was usually the main character, but not necessarily the hero of his stories).
Jack was in ill health the last few years of his life but always maintained a positive attitude and kept his wonderful sense of humor. He died Apr 3, 2011, and was buried at West Point. Jack was a teacher, a leader and a great friend. He loved God, was devoted to his family, and was proud to be a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a member of the Long Gray Line.
- Beverly Mackmull