Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Capt. McNeal received his commissioning in 1997 from the Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, NROTC unit.
After commissioning, Capt. McNeal reported to Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island, where he completed the basic Surface Warfare Officer training course. In November 1997, he reported aboard USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) where served as Communications Officer and CMS Custodian/EKMS Manager, qualifying as a Surface Warfare Officer and also earning his qualification as a Diesel Engineering Officer of the Watch. In November 1999, he reported aboard USS Caron (DD 970) and served as the ship’s Navigator and Administrative Officer. Prior to completing his tour, he decided to pursue his commissioning option for the Engineering Duty Officer Community and in 2001, reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he earned a Master’s of Science in applied physics with a concentration in weapons systems. He then completed his EDO of the EDO Basic Course in Port Hueneme, California.
Capt. McNeal’s first Engineering Duty Officer tour was with SUPSHIP San Diego, (now Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, SWRMC) where he was assigned as Project Officer to the USS Curts (FFG 38) for their Docking Selected Restricted Availability and then went on to serve in the same capacity for USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Also while at SWRMC, Capt. McNeal served as Project Manager for maintenance availabilities aboard USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and then as the LSD/LPD Class Team Business Officer for all San Diego based LSD and LPD ships.
Upon completion of his tour at SWRMC, Capt. McNeal went on to complete two tours in new ship construction on the Gulf Coast. From December 2005 to May 2009, he was assigned to SUPSHIP Gulf Coast as the Production Officer for USS Makin Island (LHD 8). In June 2009, Capt. McNeal reported to SUPSHIP Bath, and led its Mobile, Alabama, detachment in the delivery of USS Independence (LCS 2), a first-of-class vessel being presented to the Navy by a first-time shipbuilder.
In 2011, Capt. McNeal, served a one-year Individual Augmentee tour of duty in Djibouti, Africa, as the Operations Officer for the Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), where he managed Humanitarian Assistance (HA) construction projects, supporting the HA Program Manager and Task Force Engineer. Following completion of his overseas duty, Capt. McNeal was assigned to PMS 377 (Amphibious Warfare Program Office) as the Deputy Technical Director. After his tour in PMS 377, he served as the Director for Surface Combatants for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Ships, managing acquisition portfolios for the DDG 51, DDG 1000, and LCS shipbuilding programs. He most recently served as the Deputy Major Program Manager for the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) Program in PMS 515.