Brinley Kent “Mac” McDanel

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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Brinley Kent “Mac” McDanel, 83, a career naval aviator and retired U.S. Navy Captain died on August 17, 2023, with his family by his side. He was a devoted husband to Ann Kemble McDanel for nearly 58 years and a loving father, grandfather and soon to be great grandfather.

Whether you called him Brinley, Mac, or Pop Pop, you would always be greeted with big hugs, kind words and his welcoming, loving spirit. As the patriarch of our family, he loved having everyone together to celebrate life over a great meal, and many wonderful memories come from these times. He was heavily involved in the church and mission work within the community, both near and far, and with the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life events. He lived in service to his country, his family, and his community. He was always ready to lend a hand to someone in need and was a friend to everyone he met.

Capt. McDanel’s education includes a BS in Economics from Guilford College, Greensboro, NC, US Navy Flight School, US Navy Postgraduate School for Aviation Safety, Graduate of the Naval War College, Newport, RI, and the Defense Language Institute.

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He served his country for 28 years, from August 1963 through May 1991, as a Naval Officer and Aviator, piloting an A-6 Intruder for most of his career. After Flight Training, VAQ-33, VT-9 and Safety School, he spent time in VA-42, VA-34, and VA-65, before becoming the Readiness Officer of MATWING One. Following that, he was the Executive Officer and the Commanding Officer of the VA-34 Blue Blasters. Throughout this time, he was on various carriers, including the USS Intrepid, USS Oriskany, USS Independence, USS John F. Kennedy and was the first Air Boss on the USS Carl Vinson. There was time spent in OPTEVFOR, and then filling the role as Executive Officer of NAS Oceana. In 1985, Capt. McDanel was the Commander of MATWING One and then finished out his career with a NATO posting in Turkey.

As part of his service, he received many commendations including the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal w/ Gold Star, Air Medal (3 Strikes), Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Naval Aviator Insignia, the Command at Sea Insignia, and many others. He loved to fly and to serve his country; he was a great leader and faithful comrade to his fellow service men and women.

In addition to his wife, Ann, he is survived by his three children; youngest daughter, Megan McDanel; son, John McDanel (Amanda) and daughters, Harbor and Avalon; oldest daughter, Kim Blankenburg (Steve), children, Morgan (Andrew), Jordan (Cam), and Scott (Melanie). Many others were family in Mac’s life including his sisters and brothers in law; June and Ron Forlano and John and Nancy Kemble; Morgan and Jordan’s brother Kyle and their dad, John; Jayne, Lauren and Jordan; many cousins, nieces and nephews, along with great nieces and nephews; and a great granddaughter on the way.

Mac will be remembered as a loving and devoted family man, dedicated Naval officer, passionate aviator, avid golfer, and friend to everyone he met. The family asks that Mac’s memory be honored by sharing his great hugs with everyone and by performing an act of kindness for someone in need. He is greatly loved, and he loved greatly!

Please share condolences at Gallop Funeral Services was entrusted with arrangements.