Star Bar

McNeil, Jeff - GMSN

Lost at sea

"I'm sorry that I don't have too much info on McNeil. I'll share what I do have: As I remember, Jeff worked as a gunners mate in 2nd Division. I think he was either a GMSN or a SN. Their berthing compartment was right below that of first Divisions (underneath fwd gun mount) so a lot of times Jeff would hang out in our compartment bull s--tting, playing cards etc.. while underway. About the day that Jeff was lost at sea, I couldn't believe what a nice calm, picture perfect day it was (except for what happened). Unfortunately Jeff had a cast on his leg from a previous injury. What happened exactly I didn't see. I know that Jeff was walking on the main deck port side (amid, think) and went over the side. As I recall, the life lines were down on the section of deck where Jeff went over the side (deckapes working there). Sorry, I do not have a time and date of when this happened. Recently I've been in contact with a few guys from the crew who knew McNeil better than I who would have more to add. You might have already talked to other guys who knew him. Maybe I could let you talk to someone else. Anyway I think Jeff should be honored in some way."

----- Jack Mueller

"My name is Randy Andrew and I was a GMG1 on the HULL from June '82 until she decommissioned. I was reading those names listed in the Fallen section of our web page when I saw Jeff McNeil's name. Mac (as he was called by the Gun Gang) was a GM striker that worked with me in MT. 53, I was the one that talked him into striking for GM out of Deck after he had stood a couple of QD watches with me as MOOW. Since MT. 53 was right by the QD (or should I say that the QD was right by MT. 53) he would ask me questions about the 5" guns. On the day that we lost Mac, him and I had been prepping the bulkheads in 53's Carrier Room in preps for painting them white. I had sent him up to the paint locker to get the paint and he had only been gone for about 5 minutes when they passed the word "Man Overboard". I never dreamed that it would be him that had fallen over board. He went over board on the Port side main deck directly under where MT. 52 was located. The lower lifelines were indeed down as the BM's were chipping and painting the stanchions. There was water on deck flowing towards the scuppers, from farther forward. One of my GM's was doing PMS on 52 and had been talking to him at the time. He told me later that Mac had looked up at him with 1 hand over his eyes (shielding the sunlight) and as he went to put the other on the top lifeline, he stepped into the flowing water with the foot that had the cast on it and slipped under the lifelines and into the water. Mac didn't have a chance as not only did he have that cast to contend with, he was also wearing the older green overalls that were heavy in themselves, plus the fact that Mac couldn't swim. Before we could get the ship turned around, he had already slipped beneath the waves. We searched for him in the vicinity well into the night but to no avail. Mac was an easy going kid and was as bad as me for joking with the guys on the ship. His loss greatly affected the Gun Gang as well as the rest of the crew. When I returned to the Carrier Room later that night to lock up, I stepped into the Carrier Room and saw Mac's "Mickey Mouse" ears that he had his name engraved into the ear pieces. I still have those "Mickey Mouse" ears and each time that I see them reminds me of him. Right before decommissioning, I had painted the Gun Gang's name onto the bulkhead next to the EP2 panels in each 51, 52 and in 53, I placed Mac's name above mine and GMG2 Houk's. Mac, rest in peace, you are not forgotten."

----- V/R, Randy C. Andrew, GMC(SW) USN-Retired USS Hull (DD-945) '82-'83