Fowler Benjamin McShan Jr.
T/5 in Signal Co, Special : Inst & Maint; Telephone & Wire
Military occupational specialty: 650 (telephone switchboard operator)
Born 1923 in TX, Died 2000
Other residence(s): Vernon, TX; Roswell, NM; Culver City, CA (1950s, Martin spreadsheet); Hobbs, NM
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: motorcycle mechanic
Mac McShan was born on November 25, 1923 in Brady, TX, the middle child of five children born in five years. By 1930 the family was living in Vernon, TX; Mac's father worked doing odd jobs in those Depression years.
By 1935 the McShans had relocated to Roswell, NM; Mac's father had found steadier work as a carpenter at the New Mexico Military Institute, a high school/junior college in Roswell. By 1940 the older two children had left home and Mac was working as an apprentice grocery salesman.
When he registered for the draft, on June 30, 1942, Mac was working at Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Los Angeles, CA, though he still gave his residence as Roswell.
He enlisted in the Army Signal Corps in March, 1943, stating that he had three years at Roswell Junior HS (possibly Junior/Senior High School since the 1940 census states that he had completed two years of high school) and was working as a motorcycle mechanic. He was eventually assigned to the Signal Company Special, and trained at Camp Crowder in MO. While in the Army he took correspondence courses for several years through the US Armed Forces Institute (USAFI). He served in Europe with his unit, and was discharged on October 27, 1945 with the rank of T/5.
He returned to Roswell after the war; in the 1950 census he was working as a liquid fuel tank installer, and living with his parents. The census record says that he was divorced but no evidence of a first wife was discovered.
On October 26, 1951 he married Ruby Elizabeth Thornton; they would go on to have four children: Fowler Benjamin III, Nancy, Bonnie, and Marshall.
His obituary states that "in civilian life Mac was a master mechanic and worked for decades in the fuels transport and automotive parts industries. An avid sportsman, Mac especially loved fishing and hunting trips throughout the state. He was a fine baker and cook who delighted children and adults alike with creative cakes for over 45 years."
A Ghost Army address list shows him living in Culver City, CA in the 1950s and city directories show him living in Hobbs, NM in the late 1950s and 1960s when he worked for Mae's Gas Equipment Company. But by 1974 (and likely earlier) he had returned to Roswell, where he was a member of the First United Methodist Church. He also belonged to the American Legion.
Mac died on July 25, 2000 at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, NM and is buried at South Park Cemetery in Roswell.
1942 draft card
1945 New Mexico World War II Records
1960 US city directory for Hobbs, NM
2000 Find a Grave record
2000 US Veterans' Gravesites
2000 Social Security Applications & Claims Index
2000 obituary in the Roswell Daily Record (NM)