Mahony was born 1918 in Oregon and enter the US Army service in California. Assigned to the 3rd Pursuit Squadron in the Philippines. At the start of the war, he was serving as the operations officer at Nichols Field as a 1st Lieutenant.
Defense of the Philippines
On December 10, 1941 Mahony took off from Nichols Field in a P-40E 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 it and forcing him to bail out, and he landed unhurt and made his report at 5:13am. Later that same day, Mahony was one of seven P-40Es that took off at 12:35 from Nichols Field in a P-40E flying patrols over Manila. While climbing, at roughly 2,000' was intercepted by A6M2 Zeros. Mahony flew two patrols this day, for a total of five hours.
On December 11, 1941 Mahony flew a recon mission, returning to Nielson Field at 7:25, reporting 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 flew more combat missions and was promoted to Captain.
After Java, he was evacuated to India and flew combat in the China-Burma theatre with the 1st Air Commando Group during 1943.
Liberation of the Philippines
He returned to the Philippines in 1944 with the 8th Fighter Group, Headquarters serving as deputy C. O. of the 8th Fighter Group.
On January 3, 1945 while piloting a P-38 Lightning, Mahony took off from San Jose Airfield on Mindoro 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.
Victory Credits and Awards
Mahony was credited with a total of five victories during his career. 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.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart. At the time of his death, according to his 201 sheet, "Mahoney 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
Do you have additional information on Mahony?
Doomed From The Start covers his Philippines service in 1941-1942 pages 34 (photo), 136-137, 145, 150-151, 153, 154, 159, 165, 167, 442 (note 5), 443 (note 1), 453 (n. 11), 454 (n. 12)
Attack and Conquer 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 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 was hit and went straight into the ground. Mahoney 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
Mahony was interviewed by war correspondent George Weller on Java during February 1942
Thanks to Edward Rogers and William Bartsch for additional information
Note: some website references incorrectly spell his surname "Mahoney".