Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Collection
Thomas Michael McMahon served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from 1961 to 1963 in education and irrigation projects. He was part of the first group of volunteers in mainland Asia. McMahon trained at the Experiment in International Living site in Putney, Vermont, with 31 recruits and studied the Bengali language and the social life and history of East Pakistan. He faced a medical problem and possible de-selection after training and was greatly relieved to enter the country with his group in November 1961. After homestay in Dacca and training in Comilla, he was assigned to teach electricity and physics in a technical school in Rajshahi where he helped to rewire emergency lights and became known as an electrical troubleshooter. In the second year, McMahon served as engineer advisor on the Ganges-Kobadak irrigation project and later became a volunteer leader. After the Peace Corps, he worked as a nuclear engineer and served 8 years as the mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania. McMahon continues with international projects and has two daughters who also became Peace Corps Volunteers. Interviewed and recorded by Patricia Wand, August 25, 2018. 2 digital audio files (web streaming files combined into 1 file).