McNair, Henry Levell, GySgt

 Service Photo 
 Service Details
29 kb
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Last Rank
Gunnery Sergeant
Last Primary MOS
0369-Infantry Unit Leader
Last MOSGroup
Primary Unit
1942-Present, 0369, Missing In Action
Service Years
1924 - 1942
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Golden Dragon Certificate
Shellback Certificate

Gunnery Sergeant

Four Hash Marks


 Current Photo 
 Personal Details 

179 kb

State of Birth
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MGySgt Scott Welch-Deceased to remember Marine GySgt Henry Levell McNair.

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Drill Instructor Order of the Golden Dragon Shellback China Marine

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1942, World War II Fallen

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Service Number: 198070
Birth and Early Life:
Henry McNair was the son of Thomas and Mary McNair of Carthage, Mississippi. He was born on July 11, 1902, and would be the oldest of their nine children. The McNairs moved to Shelby, Tennessee shortly before 1920; Thomas and his older sons worked the family farm for several years before Henry enlisted on December 2, 1924.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
McNair attended boot camp at San Diego, and was chosen for Sea School in March, 1925. His Marine career started somewhat ingloriously as a runner for the Fourth Regiment Provisional Company, but on April 28, 1925, Private McNair was made a member of the Marine Detachment, USS Pennsylvania.
Service Prior to 1941:
Henry McNair was promoted to Private First Class in May, 1925, and sailed with the Pennsylvania on fleet maneuvers around Hawaii and saw Australia and New Zealand. He spent the year 1926 in San Pedro, California, attached to the Pennsylvania, then transferred to the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, and set out for China duty. Shortly after completing his first four years in the Corps, McNair was promoted to corporal. McNair served in China until October, 1928. He returned to the United States briefly before being sent on to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to join the HQ Company of the First Marine Brigade. He served out his enlistment in Haiti, and was discharged with a Good Conduct Medal on December 1, 1930. Re-enlisting almost immediately earned McNair a two-month furlough and nine months of stateside duty before returning to China. Corporal McNair joined the 38th Company at the American Legation in Peiping and remained there until the end of his second enlistment in December 1934; he received a bar for his Good Conduct Medal, re-enlisted at Norfolk Navy Yard, and remained with the barracks detachment there until receiving his second sea post aboard the USS Arkansas. Though still strictly on a peacetime footing, the Navy and Marines carried out plenty of exercises, and much of (now-Sergeant) McNair's time aboard the battleship was spent participating in rehearsals and training voyages for young Annapolis midshipmen. One of his primary duties was as a gun captain for one of the Arkansas secondary anti-ship batteries. After spending most of 1938 on duty at Norfolk, McNair was brought to Parris Island, South Carolina, where he put his three stripes and fourteen years of experience to work as a drill instructor. He stayed there until mid-1941 when, as a gunnery sergeant, he joined the Marine detachment of the USS Quincy.
Wartime Service:
Gunny McNair was the second-highest rated enlisted man aboard the cruiser; in addition to keeping younger Marines in line, he was also responsible for a 5-inch gun battery. His battery first fired in anger on August 8, 1942 during a Japanese air raid off Guadalcanal. The gunners acquitted themselves well, and most probably looked forward to their next encounter with the enemy.
Date Of Loss:
That encounter would come sooner than any aboard the Quincy could have believed. They were roused by General Quarters shortly before 0200; those who were slow in waking were urged on by the sound of Japanese shells tearing the cruiser apart. Within 20 minutes, Quincy was out of control, unable to return fire, and sinking. Gunnery Sergeant McNair was one of the Marines who lost his life in the battle of Savo Island; no trace of his remains was ever found.
Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Henry McNair
Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines
Other Comments:
Body Not Recovered

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Rifle Sharpshooter (Pre 1959)USMC Basic Qualification Badge

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1925, Boot Camp (San Diego, CA)
 Unit Assignments
Sea School MCRD San DiegoMARDET (Afloat)4th Marine Regiment/3rd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment (3/4)USMC (United States Marine Corps)
MARDET American Legation, Peking, ChinaMCRD (Cadre) Parris Island, SCMARDET USS Quincy (CA-39)Missing In Action
  1925-1925, 528, Sea School MCRD San Diego
  1925-1926, 521, MARDET USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)
  1926-1928, 521, 4th Marine Regiment/3rd Bn, 4th Marine Regiment (3/4)
  1928-1930, 1st Marine Brigade / Fort Capois Haiti
  1930-1934, 528, MARDET American Legation, Peking, China
  1934-1936, 528, Basic School for Marine Officers, Norfolk Navy Yard (Historic)
  1938-1938, 528, MARDET USS Arkansas (BB-33)
  1938-1941, 8511, MCRD (Cadre) Parris Island, SC
  1941-1942, 0791, MARDET USS Quincy (CA-39)
  1942-Present, 0369, Missing In Action
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Battle of Tulagi (including First Savo) /Battle of Savo Island
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