George Mallon was born June 15, 1877, on a farm in Kansas in the shadows of Fort Riley. Mallon enlisted and mustered into the 22nd Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment on June 18, 1898 as a Private, in response to the USS Maine exploding in Havana Harbor while protecting American interests in Cuba on the eve of the Spanish American War. Things moved quickly, and the 22nd Kansas men never made it past Virginia and were mustered out of service on November 3, 1899.
Mallon did not want this to define his military career, so he enlisted with the 12th U.S. Infantry heading to the Philippines just two months later on January 17, 1899. Mallon saw action for the first time fighting in Filipino rice paddies during the rainy season against Filipino Freedom Fighters. During his time in the Philippines, Mallon won the Army Boxing Championship. In late 1900, Mallon was struck in the chest by a bullet, which would remain there for the rest of his life. Upon his return home, Mallon was noticed and recruited to box amateurly. In his first heavyweight fight, Mallon knocked out his opponent with time still remaining in the first round. His boxing career was short, and in 1906, he married Effie Campbell, and by 1909, they had moved to Minneapolis where Mallon worked for General Fire Extinguisher Company, installing water sprinklers.
After the United States declared war on Germany, Mallon volunteered for officer’s training and was accepted into the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Fort Snelling on May 15, 1917. He was then commissioned as Captain of Infantry and assigned to the 132nd Regiment, 33rd Division. Mallon took part in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which was a major part of the Allied Offensive in World War I on September 26, 1918, stretching along most of the Western Front. In a dense fog, Captain Mallon lead his men forward and attacked nine hostile machine gun nests, successfully capturing all of them without losing a man. Continuing on through the woods, he led his men in attacking a battery of four 155-millimeter howitzers. During this encounter, Mallon attacked and knocked out one of the enemy with his fists. The bravery and determination displayed by Mallon resulted in the capture of 100 prisoners, eleven machine guns, four 155-millimeter howitzers and one anti aircraft gun. He was injured five days later and given medical care in Mars, France. Before he was sent back home, General John Pershing presented Captain Mallon the Congressional Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. He also received the French Legion of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.
Mallon returned to Minnespolis, Minnesota and did a brief period in politics, running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican ticket. He became active among veterans, joining many organizations, and worked to unionize the common working man and to get farmers to organize. He also served as Hennepin County’s commissioner for eight years. George Mallon died August 2, 1934 and was buried in a private cemetery. However, five years later in 1939, Fort Snelling National Cemetery was established, and Captain Mallon’s body was reinterred and was the first burial in the National Cemetery on July 5, 1939. The main road through the cemetery, Mallon Road, is named after him.