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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: McNarney

Birthplace: Emporium, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Taggart

Date of Birth: 28 August 1893

Date of Death: 01 February 1972

Rank: General

Years Served: 1915 - 1952
Joseph Taggart McNarney

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1915

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Joseph Taggart McNarney

General, U.S. Air Force

Joseph Taggart McNarney was born on 28 August 1893 in Emporium, PA. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in June 1915. The USMA Class of 1915 is often referred to as "The class the stars fell on" and for good reason. Of its 164 graduates, 59 were awarded the rank and stars of general - the most of any class in USMA history. Two attained five-star General of the Army rank; two were four-star generals; seven were three-star lieutenant generals; twenty-four were two-star major generals; and twenty-four were one-star brigadier generals. Interestingly, McNarney's class rank was higher than both of the five-star generals, as well as the other four-star general.

At graduation, McNarney was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He then served with the 21st Infantry at Vancouver Barracks, WA, and with the 37th Infantry at Yuma, AZ. He became a first lieutenant in July 1916 and began flight training at San Diego, CA. He was rated a Junior Military Aviator and transferred to the Signal Corps Aviation Section one year later. In May 1917, he was promoted to Captain and became an Instructor in Meteorology and Radio Telegraphy.

McNarney went to France in 1917 and served as an Assistant at the 1st Corps Aeronautical School. He joined Headquarters Air Service in January 1918 and helped direct the 2d Corps School and led flights of the 1st Aero Squadron in the Toul sector. In June 1918, he was promoted to Major. During the Chateau Thierry Offensive he was Commanding Officer of the 1st Corps Observation Group, Chief of Air Service of the 3d Corps, and on the staff of the Chief of Air Service of the 1st Army. He Commanded the Air Corps during the St. Mihiel Offensive and the 5th Corps during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He became Commanding Officer of the 2d Army's Observation Group in February 1919, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in May. While on duty at American Expeditionary Force Headquarters near Paris, McNarney wrote a manual on Air Observation.

Upon his return to the U. S. in October 1919, he was in command of the flying school at Gerstner Field, LA. In September 1920, he reverted back to the rank of Captain. He went to Langley Field, VA, in November and remained there for five years as a student and instructor in what became the Air Corps Tactical School. After that, McNarney graduated with honors from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and spent 1926-29 as a Member of the Air Section, Military Intelligence Division, War Department General Staff, Washington, DC. He completed the Army War College course in August 1930 and went to March Field, CA, as Commandant of the Air Corps Primary Flying School; in 1931 the school moved to Randolph Field, TX. He next served as Commanding Officer of the 7th Bombardment Group and as Executive Officer of the 1st Bomb Wing, both at March Field.

From August 1933 to March 1935, McNarney was an instructor at the Army War College, Washington Barracks, DC. He then went to Langley Field, VA, as Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics and Material (G-4), General Headquarters Air Force, helping in its organization. He was assigned as Commanding Officer of the 7th Bombardment Group, Hamilton Field, CA, in July 1938 and, less than a year later, returned to Washington to serve in the War Plans Division of the War Department General Staff. McNarney became a Member of the Joint Army and Navy Planning Committee, Washington, in June 1939.

In March 1940, McNarney began climbing the promotion ladder for the second time by being promoted to Colonel. In May, he was appointed Member of the Canada-U.S. Permanent Defense Board. He became a Brigadier General in April 1941 and one month later he was assigned as Chief of Staff of the Special Army Observer Group, London, England, where he served until December 1941. After 7 December 1941, he served as a member of the Roberts Commission, which investigated the Pearl Harbor attack. In January 1942, McNarney was promoted to Major General and appointed Chairman of the War Department Reorganization Committee, War Plans Division, War Department General Staff, Washington. In March, he became Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and his promotion to Lieutenant General followed in June. While Deputy Chief of Staff, he developed the plan of anti-submarine warfare and instructed General Hap Arnold to organize a new bomber command; the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command. McNarney ordered the bombers to attack hostile submarines "wherever they may be operating" and this offensive measure eventually destroyed Germany's hold on sea lanes.

McNarney, in October 1944, went to Europe as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and Commanding General of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. He was awarded the fourth-star of General in March 1945 and, in September, became Acting Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations. From 1945-47, he was Commanding General of the U.S. Forces in the European Theater of Operations and Commanding General of the Office of U.S. Military Government, Germany

General McNarney returned to the U.S. as Senior member of the Military Staff Committee to the United Nations, in New York City, in March 1947. He became Commanding General of Air Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, in October. He left Air Materiel Command to become Chief of the Department of Defense's Management Committee in September 1949. McNarney held that position until he retired from active duty on 31 January 1952.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
British Knight Commander, Order of Bath
Yugoslavian White Eagle II Degree
Chile Order of Merit with Rosette
Brazilian Military Legion of Merit with Rosette and War Medal
Italian Decorations (Three Crowns)
Knight Grand Cross
Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus
French Legion of Honor with Rosette, Grand Officer
Croix de Guerre with Palm
Belgian Grand Cross of Leopold I with Palm
Grand Croix de l'Ordre de la Couronne with Palm
Polish Virtuti Military Class II
Polonia Restituta Class II
Command Pilot Badge


On 27 January 2010, the Transportation Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate designated State Route 120 in the Borough of Emporium [McNarney's place of birth] as General Joseph T. McNarney Memorial Boulevard.

In Retirement

After his retirement, McNarney lived in California and held executive positions with General Dynamics, including heading up the aircraft manufacturer Convair, after it was acquired by General Dynamics.

Death and Burial

General Joseph Taggart McNarney died on 1 February 1972. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Los Angeles County, CA, in the Court of Freedom Columbarium.


Honoree ID: 788   Created by: MHOH




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