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Lionel Charles McGarr
McGarr in 1960, shortly before his promotion to Lieutenant General
Born March 5, 1904 (1904-03-05)
Died November 3, 1988 (1988-11-04) (aged 84)
Place of birth Yuma, Arizona
Place of death San Francisco, California
Buried at San Francisco National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1928–1962
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held 30th Infantry Regiment
350th Infantry Regiment
Allied Prisoner of War Command -- Korea
7th Infantry Division
US Army Caribbean Command
Army Command and General Staff College
Military Assistance Advisory Group -- Vietnam
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Purple Heart

Lionel Charles McGarr (March 5, 1904—November 3, 1988) was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army. He was the last commander of Military Assistance Advisory Group -- Vietnam.

Early life and start of military career[]

McGarr was born in Yuma, Arizona on March 5, 1904, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1928.[1] After receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry he served in command and staff positions of increasing rank and responsibility, including assignments in Hawaii, California and Georgia.[2][3]

World War II[]

McGarr saw extensive combat in North Africa and Europe during World War II as commander of the 30th Infantry Regiment from October 1943 to December 1944, acting assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division from December 1944 to January 1945, and again commander of the 30th Infantry Regiment from January to May 1945.[4][5][6]

Post World War II[]

McGarr was assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division from 1945 to 1946,[7] and he graduated from the National War College in 1947, afterwards serving in the Intelligence section of the Army General Staff.[8]

In 1948 he was named commander of the 350th Infantry Regiment in Austria, in 1949 he became tactical inspector for U.S. Tactical Command in Austria, and from 1950 to 1951 he was Tactical Command's chief of staff.[9]

Korean War[]

McGarr went to Korea as assistant division commander of the 2nd Infantry Division in 1951[9] and later commander of Allied Prisoner of War Command -- Korea.[10][11][12] From October 1953 to May 1954 he was commander of the 7th Infantry Division.[13]

Post Korean War[]

From June 1954 to June 1956 McGarr commanded the US Army Caribbean Command.[14][15] He was then appointed commandant of the Army Command and General Staff College.[16]

Service in Vietnam[]

In September 1960 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and named commander of Military Assistance Advisory Group -- Vietnam.[17][18] He served in this post until July 1962 when, against McGarr's advice,[19] U.S. military escalation began and he was succeeded by General Paul Harkins, who commanded MAAG-V's successor unit, Military Assistance Command - Vietnam.[20][21]

Awards and decorations[]

His awards included the Distinguished Service Cross, two Distinguished Service Medals, three Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, five Bronze Stars and seven Purple Hearts.[22][23][24][25]

Citation for Distinguished Service Cross[]

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lionel C. McGarr, Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 30th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 September 1944. Colonel McGarr's outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, Seventh U.S. Army, General Orders No. 107 (1944)[26]

Retirement and death[]

After leaving Vietnam McGarr retired at the Presidio,[27] afterwards living in Lafayette, California until his death in San Francisco on November 3, 1988.[28][29] He was buried at San Francisco National Cemetery, Section B, Site 1606A.[30]


  1. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, published by the Association of Graduates, 1930, page 2115
  2. Official Army Directory, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1939, page 36
  3. Amslers of Austin's Colony, Amanda Howze Amsler, 1976, page 77
  4. History of the 30th Infantry Regiment in World War II, Rupert Prohme, 1947, page 371
  5. History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II, Donald Gilbert Taggart, 1947, page 94
  6. Third Infantry Division, Philip St John, 1994, page 31
  7. The 2nd United States Infantry Division in Korea, Clark C. Munroe, 1954, Volume 2, page 24
  8. Amslers of Austin's Colony, page 77
  9. 9.0 9.1 The 2nd United States Infantry Division in Korea
  10. Newspaper article,Screen for Activities on Packed Roads, Montreal Gazette, April 16, 1953
  11. Newspaper article, Korea Truce Talks Resumed In Secret, New York Times, May 25, 1953
  12. Newspaper article, Rhee Orders Their Release, Southeast Missourian, June 18, 1953
  13. Web site, History of the 7th Infantry Division
  14. Newspaper article, U.S. Army School is Training Latins, New York Times, October 31, 1954
  15. Newspaper article, Guatemala President Arrives In Miami, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 31, 1955
  16. Newspaper article, Caribbean Commander Shifted, New York Times, April 7, 1956
  17. Newspaper article, Aide in Vietnam Promoted, New York Times, June 1, 1960
  18. Newspaper article, Attack by Rebels in South Vietnam Appears Crushed
  19. Gunn-ing for the Globe: Giles Gunn, by Ruben Brosbe, Reporter & Stephanie Tavares, Staff Writer, Daily Nexus, University of California -- Santa Barbera, November 4, 2003
  20. Newspaper article, Gen. Trudeau Retiring; Aide to Succeed Him, New York Times, April 11, 1962
  21. Newspaper article, General McGarr is Honored, New York Times, July 3, 1962
  22. Military Times Hall of Valor, Recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross
  23. Military Times, Hall of Valor, Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal
  24. Military Times, Hall of Valor, Index of Recipients of U.S. Major Military Awards
  25. Center of Military History Online
  26. Military Times, Hall of Valor, Full Text Citations For Award of The Distinguished Service Cross, U.S. Army Recipients, World War II
  27. Newspaper article, General McGarr is Honored
  28. California Death Index, 1940-1997
  29. Social Security Death Index
  30. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Nationwide Gravesite Locator

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