McNair, Lesley

McNair, Lesley (James)

(1883–1944) soldier; born in Verndale, Minn. A West Point graduate (1904), he served with Gen. John Pershing's expedition into Mexico (1916–17) and then at Pershing's headquarters in France in World War I. Making his way through a series of command posts, by March 1942 he was commanding general of the army ground forces; he supervised the mobilization and training of more than 3 million U.S. soldiers and exercised his authority to keep the infantry at the core of the army. As commanding general of the First Army group, he went to Normandy, France, after the invasion, and was killed there July 25, 1944, by American bombs falling short of their target.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.