McNair, Lesley James

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McNair, Lesley James, born on 25-03-1883 in Verndale, Minnesota, the son of James and Clara Manz McNair, graduated eleventh in a class of 124 from the United states Military Academy  and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant of Artillery. When the United States of America entered the First World War, McNair went to France, where he served with the 1st Infantry Division  . For his outstanding service, he was awarded both the Distinguished Service Medal and the French Légion d’honneur. McNair was Chief of Staff of GHQ, U.S. Army from July 1940 to March 1942. He was promoted to Major General in September 1940, and temporary Lieutenant General in June 1941. In March 1942, General McNair became Commanding General, Army Ground Forces. His programs for the training and supply of individual replacements to combat units would later face widespread criticism after the U.S. Army invasion of North Africa in 1942, criticism that continued until the end of the war in Europe.

Death and burial ground of McNair, Lesley James.

   Leslie McNair, who had already received a Purple Heart  for being wounded in the North African Campaign, was killed in his foxhole July 25, 1944 near Saint-Lô during Operation Cobra, by an errant aerial bomb dropped during a pre-attack bombardment by heavy strategic bombers of the Eighth Air Force . Start point confusion was further compounded by red smoke signals that suddenly blew in the wrong direction, and bombs began falling on the heads of the U.S. soldiers. This happened on both days, with totaling over 100 casualties including Lieutenant General Leslie McNair. General Omar “Brad” Bradley

   his ground forces stymied, had decided to use to break the German lines. 1,500 heavies, 380 medium bombers and 550 fighter bombers dropped 4,000 tons of high explosives and napalm. Bradley was horrified when 77 planes bombed short: The ground belched, shook and spewed dirt to the sky. Scores of our troops were hit, their bodies flung from slit trenches. Doughboys were dazed and frightened….A bomb landed squarely on McNair in a slit trench and threw his body sixty feet and mangled it beyond recognition except for the three stars on his collar. His son, Colonel Douglas McNair, Chief of Staff of the 77th Infantry Division, nickname “Statue of Liberty”  File:77th Infantry Division.patch.jpg was killed two weeks later on 06-08-1944, age 37, by a sniper on Guam and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.  64131527_138140738782   McNair was not always successful in selecting subordinate commanders with genuine military leadership abilities. He had a natural affinity and very high regard for General Lloyd Fredendall perhaps the most incompetent U.S. senior battlefield commander of World War II. McNair even included Fredendall on a list of three senior generals he thought capable of commanding all American forces in England. As part of Operation Torch, Fredendall was later sent to North Africa, where he was relieved of command by General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower  after the debacle at Kasserine Pass. Lesley James McNair is buried on the American war cemetery of Colleville, France, Section F.

 

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