‘Black Hawk Down’ hero, Illinois native dies at 64

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DURAND, Ill.  — A Durand native whose courageous combat was illuminated in the book “Black Hawk Down” has died.

The Rockford Register Star reports that 64-year-old Sgt. Major James McMahon died Nov. 5. A cause was not listed.

The 16-year veteran Army Ranger was aboard one of two Black Hawk helicopters shot down by rocket-propelled grenades in Somalia in October 1993. The book by Mark Bowden introduces McMahon by describing his face as so battered and cut that “he looked like he was wearing a fright mask” as he pulled the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.

McMahon was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for valor.

McMahon retired in 2002, worked as a defense contractor and since 2013 was a special operations instructor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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