Proud to have served in Reserves

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Don Mackaman of Marshalltown is shown with an American flag certified to have flown at the U.S. Capitol. The Mackamans have it on display inside their residence.

Editor’s note: This is the latest in an ongoing series of articles profiling those who have ever served in the U.S. military, be it overseas or stateside. Every Thursday, a new profile will be published in the T-R.

A faded Times-Republican newspaper photo from an edition many years ago shared by local historian Jay Carollo shows five local Army Reservists pretending to rub their eyes and stifle yawns under the watchful eye of a sergeant during a 6 a.m. roll call at Union Station in Marshalltown.

The caption read: “It’s Too Early for a Train Ride.”

Sgt. Don Mackaman was one of reservists.

Mackaman and comrades were with Battery B, 403 Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion.

For many summers, Mackaman would ride the train from Union Station to Cedar Rapids, and then a bus to Camp Haven, Wis. — or other camps — for two weeks training.

Also included was one weekend commitment per month in Marshalltown.

It was all part of a approximately 21-year commitment to the Army Reserves.

Previously, he served one year active duty with the Army.

“I enlisted in the Army Nov. 16, 1948, he said. “I picked the Army because I wanted to.”

And the reserves?

“I would do it all over again,” he said, without a moment’s hesitation. “I learned a lot.”

He also said he was grateful he did not have to serve overseas.

“I was very lucky,” he said.

Mackaman said leadership training he received in the Army and reserves was helpful in his full-time career as a Marshalltown policeman.

Mackaman would rise through the ranks to become assistant police chief, a position he was appointed to by the late Mayor William Crosby in 1966.

He would remain assistant chief until retirement in 1987.

“Dedicated to police work as he is, the new Assistant Police Chief says his first major effort will be toward recruitment of promising candidates to fill the department’s depleted ranks,” wrote the late T-R Editor Paul Norris Jr. in his celebrated “Memorable People of a Half Century as a Country Editor.” “Mackaman’s leadership was recognized in the Army where he obtained a sergeant’s rating — he still is a master sergeant in the active Army Reserve — and at 35 he has had 14 years of experience in police work.”

In total, he would put in 35 years with MPD.

Mackaman and wife, Romaine, raised their family in Marshalltown, and one son followed his father’s footsteps in law enforcement.

He is an agent with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation in Ankeny, a community where Don and Romaine will be moving to in the immediate future in order to be closer to several grandchildren.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or