Grattan Mahony was born 1918 in Bridal Veil, Oregon. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in California and was trained as a pursuit pilot and earned his wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. During 1941, shipped overseas to the Philippines, and assigned to the 24th Pursuit Group (24th PG), 3rd Pursuit Squadron (3rd PS) based at Nichols Field as operations officer. Later, he was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Defense of the Philippines
On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War he took off from Nichols Field piloting a P-40E Warhawk and claimed his first aerial victory over Luzon.
On December 10, 1941 took off from Nichols Field piloting a P-40E Warhawk on a mission over Vigan and spotted Japanese ships offshore including transports and warships. Returning with this intelligence, he was fired on by friendly anti-aircraft fire from a machine gun position manned by Filipinos, damaging his plane he was forcing to bail out, and he landed unhurt and made his report at 5:13am. Later that same day, Mahony took off at 12:35pm from Nichols Field as one of seven P-40E flying patrols over Manila. While climbing, at roughly 2,000' intercepted by A6M2 Zeros. In total, Mahony flew two sorties that day for a total of five hours flight time.
On December 11, 1941 Mahony flew a reconnaissance mission, returning to Nielson Field at 7:25am and reported Japanese ships to the southwest of Luzon and off the west coast of Mindoro.
On December 12, 1941 Mahony escorted by Hanson flew in a P-40E dive bombing and strafing the Legaspi-Manila railroad terminus, to slow the Japanese advance towards Manila.
On December 14, 1941, Mahony took off from Nichols Field on a mission to Mindanao, returning via Legaspi, he strafed a radio tower and was fired on by anti-aircraft fire from Legaspi Airfield, diving to strafed aircraft parked there, he was chased by Zeros as he strafed, and followed him away from the target around Mount Mayon and then managed to escape and return to base.
Defense of Java
Next, he was sent to Java and continued flying combat missions assigned to the 17th Provisional Squadron (17th PRV SQ) and was promoted to the rank of Captain. On February 18, 1942 he claimed his second victory. On February 19, 1942 he claimed his third aerial victory. On February 22, 1942 he claimed his fourth aerial victory. During February 1942 Mahony was interviewed by war correspondent George Weller.
China-Burma-India (CBI) Service with the 1st Air Commando Group
During 1943, evacuated to India and assigned to the 1st Air Commando Group (1st Air Commandos). Mahony commanded the group's P-51A Mustang fighter section with Robert L. Petit serving as his deputy and began flying combat missions in China-Burma-India (CBI).
Return to the Philippines
In late 1944, again assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF) as the deputy C. O. of the 8th Fighter Group (8th FG), headquarters and again flew combat missions in the Philippines.
Killed In Action
On January 3, 1945 took off from San Jose Airfield on Mindoro piloting P-38L Lightning 44-25217 on a mission to escort A-20s over Puerta Princessa. Over the target, he spotted a Japanese seaplane near shore and told his formation to continue escorting the A-20s and he dove down to strafe the seaplane, claiming it destroyed but he was hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire in the wing, caught fire and was observed to crash into the nearby jungle.
Aerial Victory Claims
Mahony was officially credited with four aerial victories by the USAAF/USAF. The first on December 8, 1941, one on February 18, 1942, one on February 19, 1942, one on February 22, 1942 and one on April 17, 1944 with 1st Air Commando Group. Other sources state he was credited with five aerial victories.
||Notes on claim
||3rd Pursuit Squadron. First aerial victory claim.
||17th Provisional Squadron. Second aerial victory claim.
||17th Provisional Squadron. Third aerial victory claim.
||17th Provisional Squadron. Fourth aerial victory claim.
||Air Commando Group. Fifth aerial victory claim (not officially credited by USAAF/USAF)
Mahony was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously. At the time of his death, according to his 201 File, "Mahony had flown more combat hours than any other pursuit pilot in the AAF."
Tod Mahony (grandson)
"Grant died when my father, Dan Grant Mahony, was only six months old."
Seeking Relatives & Additional Information
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Some references incorrectly spell his surname "Mahoney" [sic, Mahony].
U. S. Army 201 File - Grattan "Grant" Mahony
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Mahony, Grant page 120 (PDF page 127)
Doomed From The Start American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines 1941-2 (1995) by William Bartsch pages 34 (photo), 136-137, 145, 150-151, 153, 154, 159, 165, 167, 442 (note 5), 443 (note 1), 453 (note 11), 454 (note 12)
Every Day A Nightmare American Pursuit Pilots in the Defense of Java, 1941-1942 (2010) by William Bartsch pages 22, 35, 49-50, 109, 119-111, 145, 150-151, 156, 164, 178, 180, 209-210, 211-212, 214, 218, 220, 240, 243, 251, 258, 262, 269-270, 273-275, 247-248, 251, 266, 270, 340, 344, 388-389, 376 (footnote 1), 416 (footnote 1), 484 (index Mahony, Grant)
Attack and Conquer (1995) by John Stanaway and Lawrence J. Hickey page 136
"Appendix V : Unit Losses: January 3, 1945: Col. Grant Mahoney [sic] (HQ). P-38. He tagged along on a strafing mission to Puerta Princesa on Palawan, P.I. Lieutenant George Lynch (35th Sq) offered to yield the lead and go along as wingman. Col. Mahoney [sic] saw a floatplane in the harbor near the airfield and, even though Lynch warned him that the thing was probably a dummy zeroed in by anti-aircraft, decided to attack. On the way down Lynch could see the flashes of guns on the ground, and silenced some of them with strafing fire, but not before Mahoney [sic] was hit and went straight into the ground. Mahoney [sic] was a hero of the China-Burma-India theater and Lynch's impression of the brief time that he knew the Colonel was that he was a fine officer."
Air Force Magazine "Crusade in the Pacific" by John L. Frisbee, Vol. 68, No. 10 October 1985
FindAGrave - LtCol Grant Mahony (photos)
Thanks to Tod Mahony, William Bartsch and Edward Rogers for additional information