Harry P. “Mac” McCommons was honored with Civilian Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 17 at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Mac was inducted into the USSOCOM COmmando Hall of Honor in 2017, and earned the Joint Meritorious Service Award upon his Civil Service retirement. In 1987, Mac was hired at HQ JSOC as a strategic airlift planner. He worked with leadership at HQ USTRANSCOM and HQ AMC to establish procedures and policies that would blaze the trail for JSOC mobility. In support of OPERATION JUST CAUSE he established an Intermediate Staging Base at Howard AFB, Panama solidifying successful reception of forces in country leading to the capture of Manuel Noriega. In 1993, Mac deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia and spearheaded the deployment and redeployment of forces involved in a 12 hour battle to rescue soldiers trapped in a hostile environment. At the conclusion of the battle, Mac had forces flushed out of the airfield in less than 48 hours. On September 11, 2011, while deployed to Europe, Mac responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center and redeployed forces back to posture for ongoing operations. The strategic airlift coordinated by Mac were the only aircraft authorized to operate in the continental United State in the ensuing days after the attack.
Mac worked tirelessly as a strategic airlift planner to ensure the command had the logistical reach it needed to execute the command’s no fail mission globally. In the ensuing years, he was the mastermind behind countless exercises and deployments worldwide. His presence became a staple for all things mobility supporting HQ JSOC and associated units. His unparalleled work ethic and expertise were the impetus to his being promoted to Deputy Director of Mobility Forces with the Aviation Tactics Evaluation Group. In 2003, Mac planned, scheduled and executed one of the largest strategic mobility operations in history, mobilizing 89 C5 and 37 C17 aircraft in less than 30 days, posturing forces in preparation of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mac was frequently called upon to provide input to senior leaders. Many of his enlisted subordinates ascended to Chief Master Sergeant and he mentored several directors to General Officer ranks.
Mr. Harry P. “Mac” McCommons hails from Elkton, Maryland. After graduation from high school, Mac embarked on a long and illustrious 30 year career in the United States Air Force. Mac joined the USAF in 1955 as an airborne radio operator. In 1956, he cross-trained to Aircraft Loadmaster and saw tours of duty at Dover AFB, West Palm Beach AFB, McChord AFB, Brookley AFB, Charleston AFB, Travis AFB, Chateauroux AB, France, McGuire AFB and Pope AFB. Mac retired from active duty as a CMSgt. In 1985. After a brief stint in the private sector, Mac was hired in JSCO as a strategic airlift planner in 1987. Mac quickly established himself as the command’s “go-to” airlift expert planning numerous JCS directed exercises and establishing procedures and policies with USTRANSCOM and HQ AMC which would establish how HQ JSOC mobilizes. The mobility foundation that Mac built is still used to this day. He was directly responsible for mobilizing HQ JSOC in support of every contingency operation between 1987 until his retirement in 2012. Mac was married to Marilyn Knutsen for 55 years. They had two sons, Christopher and Perry; one daughter, Debra; and two grandsons, Zach and Noah.