Retired Navy Officer Earns Service Medals and a College Degree

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and may not reflect the official policy or position of Excelsior College. Excelsior makes no claim regarding the suitability of the content for all audiences.

Over the course of a 30 year military service career, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Shawn T. McMahon was honored with a Meritorious Service Medal, Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and Navy Good Conduct Medals. In 2012, he earned an associate degree from Excelsior College.

Retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Shawn T. McMahon Retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Shawn T. McMahon joined the U.S. Navy in 1983 because he was not ready to go to college and felt service was an honorable alternative. He enlisted under the delayed entry program in March of that year. Seven months later. McMahon, headed for boot camp in San Diego, CA.

He traveled the world during his time in the Navy, deployed to Guam, Hawaii, Italy and the Philippines. McMahon moved up the military ladder, eventually earning the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer – his proudest accomplishment.

The military was not just a career path for McMahon – service to the country was a family affair. His father served in the National Guard as a First Lieutenant, his cousin and son-in-law in the Navy. His brother-in-law was a U.S. Marine.

McMahon served the country with distinction throughout his 30-year career. He earned the Meritorious Service Medal, seven Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and nine Navy Good Conduct Medals.

“Being recognized with Navy and Marine Corps medals is the greatest feeling,” said McMahon.

While McMahon had chosen the military over higher education, securing a degree remained important to him; he eventually earned an associate degree in Applied Science from Excelsior College while on Active Duty.

“Earning a degree was quite a balancing act. I was quite exhausted at times, but I pushed through knowing that earning a degree was going to help me and the future of my family,” recalled McMahon. “My family was very supportive which made this journey possible.”

According to McMahon, a degree has helped him become a more focused and better leader.

Education has always been important to me,” said McMahon . “I dedicated so much time to my career. I felt it was time to do something for me and my family. Excelsior College provided the best opportunity.”

McMahon is in the process of landing a job in Guam for a few years. After that, he is considering settling down in Texas and making it home. Right now though, he is taking life one day at a time, considering working towards a bachelor’s degree and excited to see what life brings next.