Steve Mahoney, Colonel
Col. Steve Mahoney served as Command Inspector General, Pennsylvania National Guard; Director of Operations at Army Aviation Support Facility Pennsylvania National Guard; Installation Commander as Base Operations Commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Steve Mahoney was born on November 23, 1957. During the first six years of his life, Mahoney lived with his parents on Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz Island had originally been a military base before its conversion to a military prison, and finally a federal prison. Mahoney stated that he remembers the island fondly with a “big family environment” atmosphere alongside the prison convicts.
When Mahoney was six years old, the family moved to Marion, Illinois for four years before returning to another prison reservation in Lompoc, California. Mahoney stated that most of his youth was spent growing up on prison reservations. Although he rarely interacted with inmates, he stated that seeing the result of crime at such a young age resulted in a strong understanding that “crime doesn’t pay.”
Although Mahoney’s father and five uncles served in World War II and the Korean War, the inspiration for joining the army came from the father of a friend. Initially believing that he wouldn’t be able to make it into the academy, Mahoney applied and was accepted at West Point. In the summer of 1975, Mahoney was indoctrinated into West Point as a part of the last all-male class at the academy. Mahoney graduated when he was 21 with a Bachelor of Science Degree.
During the summer of 1977, while still at West Point, Mahoney attended airborne school at Benning, Georgia. Then he led an armored cavalry platoon as a “third” lieutenant for a month and a half. As a "third" lieutenant, Mahoney toured Europe, visiting with many Swedish relatives, mountain climbing and seeing the broader world for the first time. While in Germany, Mahoney went to the 11th Armored Cavalry where he led a total of nine vehicles (six Sheridan light tanks, two Armored Personnel Carriers (M-113) with scout squads, and a 4.2 inch mortar track, as a platoon leader which cemented his love of Cavalry. Graduating as an armor officer, Mahoney had been accepted to go to the U.S. Army Ranger School. He elected to give up his vacation and go to Ranger School over the summer in order to attend the Armor Officer Basic Course later that year. Mahoney stayed at Fort Knox, Kentucky because he hoped to be the platoon leader for the first M1 Abrams platoon. During weekends and evenings in the Basic Course, he spent his time with his prototype M1 platoon as the first ever M1 platoon leader.
Before he transitioned to the platoon leader position following the Basic Course, Mahoney accepted an opportunity to go to flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Immediately following flight school, Mahoney was sent to the scout track and received an OH-58 transition before being sent to the gun track in AH-1 Cobra’s. He was later sent to Fort Lewis, Washington to become a Cobra platoon leader. Mahoney also met his wife, Yanny, at Fort Lewis.
During his three and a half years at Fort Lewis, Mahoney was a platoon leader and a battalion S4, a logistics officer. Taking his wife with him, Mahoney went to Nuremberg, Germany from 1985 to 1988, after participating in the first Aviation Officer Advanced Course. He started as a battalion logistics officer with the 2nd Armored Cavalry at Feucht Army Air Field. Then he became an attack helicopter company commander.
After Germany, Mahoney and his wife returned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland as a program manager. In 1990, Mahoney transitioned out of the military and went to work for Caterpillar as a Contract Operations Manager. Also around this time, Mahoney and his wife began to volunteer for West Point admissions. They would continue to volunteer for West Point for the next twenty-six years.
A year later, Mahoney joined the Illinois National Guard as a Warrant Officer. Realizing he loved leading people and enjoyed flying aircraft, Mahoney was lucky to be able to transition back to become a Captain again as the battalion S-3. Four months later, Mahoney was promoted to Major and was flying as Huey helicopters for the National Guard.
After having success in the National Guard as a Huey pilot, Mahoney was asked to be the Chinook Company Commander until Caterpillar transferred him to Allentown, Pennsylvania. Mahoney became the final S-3 of the 33rd Separate Infantry Brigade before it was re-flagged as the 33rd Area Support Group. With Caterpillar’s transferring of Mahoney to Pennsylvania, he also transitioned from the Illinois National Guard to the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Mahoney served as the Base Operations Commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2003 to 2004. Mahoney stated that around the same time his brother was also serving as a Task Force commander in Baghdad, Iraq which allowed them to communicate with SIPR computers for some time. It was in Kandahar, that Mahoney stated he had his first real combat experience.
After his year in Afghanistan, Mahoney was selected to go to the U.S. Army War College where he acquired a Master Degree in Strategic Studies. Following War College, Mahoney picked up an airfield command where he spent five and a half years at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Mahoney sent helicopters down to New Orleans to assist in relief efforts.
Mahoney eventually left the command to take up the position as the Inspector General in 2010 for the National Guard in Pennsylvania. By accepting the role, Mahoney was the first full-time serving AGR Colonel to be accepted for this position. Although this was not an attempt to break the traditional paradigm, Mahoney stated that his distinct mindset allowed for more effective command. Upon retirement, Mahoney was promoted to Brigadier General by the Pennsylvania National Guard.
In 2011, Mahoney retired from the position of Inspector General and returned to Caterpillar as a Supply Chain Strategy Manager, before transitioning to a position as the Executive Leadership Coach for the top executives at Caterpillar. He is still active in supporting the military and is a life member of the Association of the U.S. Army, National Guard Association and a class treasurer for the United States Military Academy class of 1979. He is also an American Production and Inventory Control Society member (Certified Supply Chain Manager) as well as the President and Board Member of the Alcatraz Alumni Association.
Mahoney currently serves as CEO of CORMIL Leadership LLC, a group that provides executive leadership coaching from a background of military and civilian leadership experience.