John Mawn

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John Joseph Mawn, Sr.

(United States Army major and associate of Elvis Presley)

Born Januar 10, 1915
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Died November 4, 2007
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Resting place:
Fort Smith National Cemetery

Spouse Helen L. Mawn (c. 1943-1988, her death)

Karney M. More
Joan E. Mawn
John Mawn, Jr.

Religion Roman Catholic

John Joseph Mawn, Sr. (January 10, 1915 – November 4, 2007), was a United States Army major who was the technical advisor for the Elvis Presley 1960 film, G.I. Blues. As public information officer at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mawn replied to the media when Presley’s draft notice became public. Presley received his "G.I. haircut" at Fort Chaffee on March 25, 1958, a day after his induction by the draft board in Memphis, Tennessee. Earlier, Mawn told an Associated Press reporter that the already legendary entertainer would look like a "peeled onion", a retort which garnered national headlines. Presley himself said simply, "Hair today, gone tomorrow."

Mawn was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Mawn (1881-1967), a railroad worker, and the late Elizabeth Mawn. He was conscripted into the Army in April 1941, when he was the 26-year-old manager of the soft goods department for a business in New York City. He was assigned to overseas duty with the 94th Infantry Division as a heavy machine gun platoon sergeant. He received a battlefield commission in March 1945 and was discharged six months later. Mawn's decorations included the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and four battle stars for combat in northern France, the Ardennes Forest, the Rhineland, and the Central European campaigns.[1]

In 1946, Mawn rejoined the Army and was stationed in Osaka with the 25th Infantry Division during General Douglas MacArthur's occupation of Japan. In 1951-1952, he was a heavy weapons company commander in South Korea, having earned his second Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Commendation Metal, a cluster to his Bronze Star, and three battle stars. He was stationed at Fort Chaffee from 1952 to 1957 as information officer. When Mawn was sent to Germany, Arlie Metheny, another information officer, coordinated Presley's induction at Fort Chaffee..

In a striking irony, Mawn was with the 3rd Armored Division in Frankfurt, Germany, at the time Presley arrived there for duty. He organized the military press conference for Presley. While in Germany, Presley held a dozen press conferences, with arrangements directed by John Mawn, who spent much of the following eighteen months answering repeated media inquiries about Presley, the soldier. He was assigned by the military to Paramount Pictures as technical adviser for G.I. Blues, Presley's fifth film and the first since he was discharged from the Army. It was also the first Presley picture directed by Hal B. Wallis.

Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper, reported that a hundred soldiers worked as extras in the film, only one of whom had acting experience. It credited Mawn with finding a Presley look-alike, PFC Thomas W. Creel, the same age as Presley and a fellow Mississippi native. Creel, who came from Laurel in the southeastern portion of the state, lip-synced Presley on film. Mawn, meanwhile, returned to Fort Chaffee in 1961 and retired from the Army a year later.

In 1964, Mawn accepted the position of public affairs officer with the Little Rock District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, having handled press-related matters for the Arkansas River navigation project procured by the state's congressional delegation. He retired from civil service in 1979.

After the death of his wife of forty-five years, Helen L. Mawn (1916-1988), formerly of Kansas, Mawn moved in 1989 to St. Petersburg, Florida. Failing health compelled him to return to Fort Smith in 2000 to be near his daughters, Karney M. More and Joan E. Mawn. He also had a son, John Mawn, Jr., and wife, Sherrill, of Gonzales in Ascension Parish near Baton Rouge in south Louisiana, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.

Not long before his death, Mawn was inducted into the Arkansas River Historical Society Hall of Fame based in Catoosa, an inland river port on historic U.S. Route 66 near Tulsa in eastern Oklahoma. He was the director of publicity for his World War II 94th Infantry Division Association. He also served on the association's executive council, the association president from 1995-1996, and editor of the association journal, The Attack.[1]

Mawn died of Alzheimer's disease. Services were held on November 8, 2007, at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Interment, with full military honors, followed in the Fort Smith National Cemetery.


This article was deleted by Wikipedia and preserved without the source notations by Wikibin. It is reprinted here with minor editing by the original author.
  1. 1.0 1.1 John Mawn. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.