Joseph George McNamee

For the longest time, the museum knew very little about Joe McNamee.  We were given his Purple Heart medal before the museum opened and told he had no known heirs.  His Purple Heart was thought to be “HOMELESS.”  Over the next few years, we learned much more about Joe and discovered he has surviving family members around the country.  After recently talking and meeting his niece Ann Kenney in New Orleans, she told the museum, “Joe’s Purple Heart is not Homeless.  It belongs in the museum where he is honored and remembered.” They asked us to keep Uncle Joe’s medal and share his story with our guests.

It’s a fascinating story about discovery: where a search for Amelia Earhart, helped us learn more about Corporal Joe McNamee on Saipan.  It is surely one of our favorite stories.

Marine Cpl. Joseph McNamee was born on 22-SEP 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were George Owen McNamee, born in Jefferson County, MO and Mary Vincent McEnaney McNamee, born in County Monaghan, Ireland. Joseph had five brothers: Owen (1907–1978), George (1908–1909), James (1911–1974), Vincent (1918–1965), and John (1928–1998).  He had three sisters: Mary Ann (1910–2010), Rose (1923–2019), and Dorothy (1930–2017).  Joseph’s parents, George and Mary along with Owen, Mary, George, James, and Vincent brother are buried in a family plot in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri along with a memorial marker for Joseph. Joseph’s family is listed on a genealogy website as a Mayflower descendants.

Joe owned a family saloon on 25th and St. Louis Avenue in St. Louis Missouri before the outbreak of World War II.  Upon hearing the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1944, Joe left his brother to run his business, and joined the Marines.  

Joe served in the 2nd Marine Division and went on to fight fought at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan.

We have a shortened version of the story (The FINAL) and the extended version of the story (Combined).  The combined lists a brief history of the battles Joe fought.

For the rest of Joe’s story, click on the pdfs below:


McNamee Joseph FINAL

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.