“The Old Nighthawk” - Mac Manning Succumbs To Cancer
CB call sign was one of the easiest to remember and most distinctive on
the local ‘net’ - “The KSG Double Five, Double Eight - The Old
Nighthawk” - DRH
By Dell Hill
My good friend “Mac” Manning died last Friday. He was 88 years old and it took cancer to finally silence his golden voice.
you’re a local reader, you’ve probably never heard of Mac. But I
really need to honor this man because he and I go back over 60 years and
our relationship was special.
and his wife of 61 years, Ida, were close friends with one of my
sisters and her husband as members of the local Civil Defense group, as
well as charter members of “Weather Watchers”. They got together each
summer at a local campground and spent many hours of relaxation and each
became an instant adopted member of the other’s family. They were that
close. At the time, I was just a snot-nosed kid, but I fondly recall
the many outings we all enjoyed at the lake and, especially, the
camaraderie we shared.
time, I learned how to swim, water ski, become a good fisherman and
developed a great appreciation for nature and the outdoors because of
folks like Mac Manning. He was more like an uncle to me and will be
Malcom Monroe Manning, February 17, 1924, the man everyone knew as
“Mac”, was known for his infectious “I’ll bet you can’t guess what I
just did” smile and a resonate bass voice that was instantly recognized
on a number of radio frequencies from HAM to Citizen’s Band. His CB
call sign was one of the easiest to remember and most distinctive on the
local ‘net’ - “The KSG Double Five, Double Eight - The Old Nighthawk”.
As an adult, and on several occasions, that man’s voice was music to my ears.
a uniformed police officer, patrolling a hundred miles of rural town
roads in Vermont is often a very lonely experience. Because of what’s
known as ground factor (mostly mountains), radio signals often go
unheard, and that’s not a comforting thought when you’re in an emergency
situation and need all kinds of assistance. Backup officers,
ambulances, fire apparatus, the jaws of life...and all other such things
simply aren’t available if you can’t communicate with a dispatch
office. That’s where people like Mac Manning came in.
monitored the local frequencies and had an especially keen ear for
certain words he knew signaled a true emergency and an officer in need
of help. He never once hesitated to answer those calls and forward
information via the telephone to the police dispatch center. He also
seemed to be awake and alert 24 hours a day!
have no way of proving it, but the conscientious, public spirited Mac
Manning undoubtedly was responsible for saving several lives, including
perhaps my own, because he was always there when it mattered most.
of his radio expertise, Mac helped me greatly in acquiring an FCC First
Class Radio/Telephone Operators License - a license he, himself, held
and one that very few communications experts are willing to tackle.
Manning was a Charter Life member of VFW Post #9653 in Morrisville,
Vermont and, quite sadly, was the last living Charter Member.
He was also a Charter Life Member and first Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 20 in Morrisville.
He was also a Life Member of American Legion Post #33 in Morrisville.
joined the United States Army in 1943 and served in Italy during World
War II. He sustained serious head wounds in that war, but never let on
to anyone just how difficult his life had been because of those wounds.
Manning was among the last of the “Greatest Generation” and his
contributions will be duly recognized for many years to come.
Malcom “Mac” Manning - 1924 - 2012. Rest In Peace, my friend. My thoughts and prayers are with Ida and their family.