SUBMITTED PHOTOS Elmhurst Independent
Pictured is Elmhurst resident Mark R. Mallon, a medal-winning Colonel in the U. S. Army Reserves, who serve as Grand Marshal of the Elmhurst 100th Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28.

The Grand Marshal for Elmhurst’s 100th Memorial Day Parade is Elmhurst resident Mark R. Mallon, a medal-winning Colonel in the United States Army Reserves who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Growing up in Elmhurst since 1975, Col. Mallon began attending the City’s Memorial Day parades long before his military career took root.

“It is truly an honor for me,” stated Col. Mallon. “The Grand Marshal is clearly a position of importance and honor, and over the years I have watched so many that have accomplished so much locally as well as nationally and internationally selected for this position.

“I look forward to the Centennial Memorial Day Parade for the great City of Elmhurst,” Col. Mallon stated.

Col. Mallon, whose military career began with ROTC training in 1989, is a Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Officer working with in the Unites States Special Operation Command (or USSOCOM). Since 2015, he has been an Instructor in the USSOCOM’s Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, where he helps build capacity in partner nations.

A Bronze Star Medal recipient, Col. Mallon served two tours of duty in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004 and 2005-06) and one tour in Afghanistan furing Operation Enduring Freedom (2012-13).

During his first tour in Iraq, Col. Mallon served as Product Development Detachment Commander with the 324th Tactical PSYOP Company based in Tikrit.

On his second Iraq tour, Col. Mallon served as Military Information Support Team (MIST) Chief with the 14th PSYOP Battalion based in Bagdad.

Col. Mallon served in Afghanistan as Deputy Commander if the Combined Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (CJPOTF) based in Kabul.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom was an amazing opportunity,” said Col. Mallon. “My first tour was working in Tikrit, which was the hometown of Saddam (Hussein). Most people there were very appreciative of the support given by coalition forces. They were not concerned that their neighbors were Sunni or Shia; they just wanted safety for their families, a job and for their children to go to school.

“On my second tour, I was at the U.S. Embassy and worked with many senior members of the government, as well as Baghdad Police. It was a great experience with a different and much higher view,” Col. Mallon continued.

“Operation Enduring Freedom was a complete change from previous deployments,” stated Col. Mallon. “Working on a NATO base, my Task Force alone was made up of soldiers from 30 different countries. The general population that we worked with there was young and had no previous knowledge of how a functioning government should work or how a legitimate police and military force operates, as they had never worked with one in their lifetime until after 9-11. Most had never traveled more than 50 miles from their home.”

His decorations and badges include Defense Meritorious Serve Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (with Solver Oak Leaf Cluster)m National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with 2 Campaign Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (with 2 Campaign Stars), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Silver Hour Glass), Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbons (with numeral 2), North Atlantic Treaty Organization ISAF Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

His military school training includes Airborne School, Military Intelligence Office Basic and Advance courses, Psychological Operations Officer and Civil Affairs Qualification courses, U.S. Army Combined Arms Staff Services Staff School (CAS^3), U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Intermediate Level Education and U.S. Army CGSC Advanced Operations and Warfighting Course.

Col. Mallon is a graduate of IC Catholic Prep in Elmhurst and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science at Illinois State University in Bloomington.

Col. Mallon works for COUNTRY Financial Insurance Company as a Financial Advisor with an office in Glen Ellyn.

 

 

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