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 "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with 
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Post "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
In 1989 Shannon "Mac"" McKinney came to my platoon in Cco 3/75 Ranger. You could just look at Mac, and tell he was a cut above. He was a Kansas boy, skilled with rifle, good in the woods, had played 4 years of college football, worked in the oil fields, and was a pre-packaged bad-ass.

When I graduated Ranger School I took the team leader position on one of the platoon Machine Gun teams. Mac was my assistant gunner. While I may have outranked him, Mac was older, wiser, and was like having an older brother to learn from.

I grew up fishing, but had never hunted. Mac quickly remedied that problem and got me to start deer hunting with him. Five minutes into my first hunt I shot a six point buck up near Athens, Georgia. Mac gave me one heck of a class on field dressing deer. I was hooked on hutting from then on and I learned much from Mac

Our first deer season together got interrupted by the Invasion of Panama. We jumped in at Omar Torrijos International Airport. Mac and I pulled security on the north end of the airport, watching toward the Bridge of the Americas. We were up against the building, under an overhang when the famous fire fight in the latrine happened, where SGT David Reeves was shot three times and continued to fight and lead his team. One of the two Cuban Colonels that had shot Dave came out the second story window just in front of my Machine Gun. The gun was on the tripod, and the Cuban saw me behind him, and pulled a .38 from his waistband. Mac stitched the dude three times center mass with his M16. It was the first time I had seen someone get shot at close range. We watched him die and when he did the kicking chicken and gave up the ghost, Mac bummed a dip of Copenhagen off me, and instructed me to say a prayer because in his words "you are more religious than me, and God will listen to you".

Not many hours later we were flown on CH53s over to Panama City to clear the La Commandancia (the Capitol Building). We stacked against the front of the building, and the lead squad got hit by a grenade. I got rocked pretty hard from the concussion and Mac and I both had shrapnel in our arms and legs (fairly minor). Every one in front of me was on the ground, and most were severely wounded. When my thoughts came back from the concussion of the grenade explosion, I looked back and Mac just nodded his head. It was all I needed. We went through the front door, breeched it slinging 7.62 on cyclic from the M60. Once we got a foothold inside the building , the rest of the platoon that was not wounded came in and we systematically cleared the building.

In my lifetime, I have never had a better friend than Mac. I have never served with a better warrior either. I ended up getting an Army Scholarship to get commissioned as an officer, and Mac went to Special Forces Assessment and the Q-Course and served in 10th Group Special Forces. He later on went Delta as an Operator. In Delta he was a living legend. In the special operations world, there are not many folks that do not know and respect him.

When I was getting ready in 2015 to head back to the Middle East, Mac called and told me that he had cancer. He had surgery to remove it, but it came back. I was keeping in touch with him when I could. He had retired back in Kansas. The day I got my date to go back to the states to do my retirement physical, I called Mac to let him know. I was too late. He had passed away days prior. I was hoping the two of us could do some serious hunting when we were both retired. That will never happen.

Hardly a day goes by that I do not think about Mac. I was lucky to have known him, and privileged to have served with him. In my lifetime, I have never known a better friend.

The other day I looked him up online, and found this write up from the College Mac attended.


"Shannon Alan “Mac” McKinney

Shannon Alan “Mac” McKinney, who was living in Lincoln at the time of his passing, graduated from FHSU in 1983 with a B.S. in agriculture. He was a retired sergeant major in the U. S. Army, the highest enlisted rank, in the U.S. Army Special Operations and was the owner of McKinney Farms.

McKinney enlisted in the Army in 1988 and served 26 years before retiring in January 2015. His service included multiple combat tours totaling five years: seven tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, one in Bosnia, and one in Panama. The last 16 years of his service, after service as a Ranger and Green Beret, were in the Army's elite Delta Force, according to a former comrade. Over the course of his service, he participated in hundreds of high-risk missions and operations.

His many awards include the Legion of Merit, nine Bronze Stars (two with the “V” for valor in combat), three Purple Hearts, two Combat Infantryman Badges, the second with a star, the Master Parachutist Badge with a bronze star for making a combat jump, the Master Freefall Parachutist Badge, the Special Forces Tab and the Ranger Tab.

People who served with him relate that he was one of the first Delta people inside Afghanistan after 9/11. In his first year in the Army, while with the Rangers in 1989, he was one of the first two people through the doors of the Panamanian Defense Forces headquarters."


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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Semper fi Warrior, till Valhalla and the gates of heaven.

H Finn

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Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:47 pm
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Mac when he was an Operator


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Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:25 pm
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Mac as a Special Forces NCO


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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Mac with one of those little Kansas deer.


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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Another little Kansas deer


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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
My gun team weeks before the Panama invasion. Steve Small, myself, and Mac


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Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:53 pm
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
The Commandancia just before we crossed the street and entered. Being that close to a building while Cobra gun ships pounded it with rockets was a religious experience in itself.


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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
They say you can count your real friends on one hand. David Reeves is one of those friends. like Mac, he came in the Army a good bit older than I. Dave is one of the best human beings I have ever known and I also count him a mentor. I sure learned a lot about bass fishing from him on the Chattahoochee River. He took three rounds at close range, and continued to fight. He almost died and I believe it was his mental toughness that pulled him through. One round hit his collar bone and knocked a hole in him big enough to fit your fist into. I wished I lived closer to him and could fish again with him.


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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
More respect for you gentlemen than i could ever convey. God has blessed the USA with all of you!


Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:06 pm
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Thank you for your service, and God's Speed to heaven for your Brothers.


Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:27 pm
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Mac would have been excited about my Uncle J mud boat build. If he were still here, I am sure we would have done some awesome hunting and fishing from it.

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Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:48 am
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
No words, except thank you from the bottom of my heart for serving your country and sorry for the loss of your mentor. He sounds like he was great man.

RIP Mac.

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Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:20 am
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Tears in my eyes and gratitude in my heart. Thanks for sharing!

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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
That was probably the most moving thread I've read on a forum. May your friend rest in peace. Thank you both for everything you have given to this great country.

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Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:03 am
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Ranger thank you for sharing a very personal story. Thank you for all of your services, good and bad. I can't image the trials that you and your friends and family have been through but I do recognize the mental toughness you have to posts this. I salute you sir and all the soldiers that have sacrificed so much. I know this thread is a few year old but the meaning is still received like it was today. My prayers go to you and our soldiers for protecting the people in the great USA. Bless you my friend.
From a true patriot!
Gary Williams


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Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:36 am
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
I made a mistake and saw the 4/10 stamp on the first thread and thought this was posted in 2010. Any ways I guess the heart felt post made me miss that it was only a day old. I apologize,


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Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:04 am
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
If Mac was still alive and knew I wrote a tribute to him, I do not doubt that he would come punch me in the head once or twice.

Mac was a very humble professional.

One thing that always impressed me about Delta Operators is their quiet professionalism. They just do not toot their own horn.

I love Marines, Air Force PJs, SEALS, Rangers, and Special Forces folks and have been impressed with members from all those groups. No one has ever impressed me though like our Delta boys. They are absolutely the tip of the spear at precision tactical operations. Because they do not toot their own horns they are not near as well known as our other spec-ops guys.

The reason I wrote the piece on Mac is because of a Viet Nam era vet I met a few days back. He told stories about his buddies from 40 years back and it sounded as the events happened yesterday. It was that fresh in his memories. I mentioned that most military history is written at division and higher level. We generally do not get the in the weeds platoon and smaller events. He said that Vets should share the stories of their buddies in speech and written format. I think I agree with him. Men like Mac should be remembered.

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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
RIP

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Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:57 pm
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Post Re: "Mac", the greatest warrior I ever served with
Very Honorable of you to post this.
May we never forget those that sacrificed in the name of freedom.

Allons!


Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:56 am
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