McNair, Lesley James, 1883-1944

Alternative names
Birth 1883-05-25
Death 1944-07-25

Biographical notes:

Brigadier General Lesley James McNair (1883-1944) was born in Verndale, Minnesota. He was appointed to the U. S. Military Academy on Aug. 1, 1900, and upon graduation on June 15, 1904, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Artillery. McNair was promoted to the grade of First Lieutenant on July 1, 1905; to captain on May 29, 1907; to major on May 15, 1917; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on Aug. 5, 1917; to colonel (temporary) on June 26, 1918; and to brigadier general (temporary) on Oct. 1, 1918. He reverted to his permanent rank of major on July 15, 1919; and was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 9, 1928; and to colonel on May 1, 1935, and to brigadier general on January 1, 1937. McNair first served with the Field Artillery at Fort Douglas, Utah, from September 15, 1904, until June 1, 1905, when he was detailed in the Ordnance Department, and assigned to duty at Sandy Hook Proving Ground, New Jersey, where he served until July 1, 1906. He then served in the Office of Chief of Ordnance, Washington, to September 12, 1906; and at the Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts, to June 14, 1909, when he was relieved from duty in the Ordnance Department. He was assigned to the 4th Field Artillery on July 1, 1909, and serve with his regiment at Fort D. A. Russell (now Fort Francis Warren), Wyoming, until January 14, 1913, during which time he served for short periods at San Antonio, Texas, and at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was assigned to Fort Sill for duty with the School of Fire for Field Artillery on January 14, 1913. He was ordered to France to witness practice of the French artillery in July and Aug., 1913, afterward returning to Fort Sill. He accompanied the Funston Expedition to Vera Cruz form April 25 to September 11, 1914, returning again to Fort Sill. He was relieved from Fort Sill on May 11, 1916, and joined the 4th Field Artillery with a punitive expedition to Mexico, returning to the U.S. in February 1917, with station at El Paso, Texas. He was an instructor at the First Officers Training Corp at Leon Springs, Texas, to June 5, 1917. McNair sailed for France in June 1917, serving with the First Division, A. E. F., to August 21, 1917. He then served at General Headquarters, A. E. F., Paris and Chaumont, to May 15, 1919, and with the First Division in Germany to June 23, 1919. Upon his return to the U.S., he was an instructor at the General Service Schools, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to January 29, 1921, during which time he graduated from the School of the Line. McNair was ordered to Hawaii in February 1921, where he served with the Operations and Training Division, General Staff, Hawaiian Department, until February 11, 1924. Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned to duty as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, and served in that capacity until June 1, 1928. He then attended the Army War College, to June 28, 1929, and upon graduation was assigned to duty as Assistant Commandant, Field Artillery School, to June 24, 1933. He then served with the 16th Field Artillery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, until September 1, 1934; and on C. C. C. duty at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, to March 31, 1935. He was ordered to Washington in April 1935, and was assigned to duty as Executive Officer in the Office, Chief of Field Artillery. On March 7, 1937, he was assigned to command the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

From the description of McNair, Lesley James, 1883-1944 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10677603

Army officer.

From the description of Papers of Lesley James McNair, 1904-1945 (bulk 1941-1945). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449435

Biographical Note

  • 1883: Born, Verndale, Minn.
  • 1904: B.S., U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
  • 1905: Married Clare Huster
  • 1914: Took part in Major General Frederick Funston’s expedition to Vera Cruz, Mexico
  • 1916 - 1917 : Served under General John J. Pershing in Pancho Villa expedition into Mexico
  • 1917 - 1919 : Served with American Expeditionary Forces in France
  • 1918: Awarded Distinguished Service Medal
  • 1918: Awarded French Legion of Honor
  • 1942: Appointed commander, U.S. Army Ground Forces
  • 1943: Wounded in action in North Africa
  • 1944: Killed in action in Normandy

From the guide to the Lesley James McNair Papers, 1904-1945, (bulk 1941-1945), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


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  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945--Manpower


  • Army officers


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