CHARLES W. BREWER, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Charles Brewer '34

Date of birth: April 19, 1911

Date of death: June 19, 1944

Age: 33

Lucky Bag

From the 1934 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Charlie was shot down over Guam on June 19, 1944. He was Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron (VF) 15, stationed aboard USS Essex (CV 9). He was an ace pilot, credited with 6.5 air-to-air victories.

His wife was listed as next of kin. Charlie was also survived by his mother, Eugenia, sister, Elizabeth, and brother, Joseph.

Other

Home of Heroes has a remembrance of Carrier Air Group 15 by Moris Markey, republished from Liberty Magazine on May 26, 1945. Charlie is mentioned several times.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander Charles Walter Brewer (NSN: 0-73306), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron FIFTEEN (VF-15), attached to the U.S.S. ESSEX (CV-9), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Marianas Islands on 19 June 1944. Commander Brewer led component parts of his squadron to intercept Japanese airplanes attempting to reach our fleet and personally accounted for 3 of the 60 enemy planes destroyed. Later, he led the six planes remaining aboard the ESSEX to Guam and, in the face of overwhelming odds, shot down two enemy planes and contributed to the destruction or rout of the remainder. Commander Brewer's outstanding courage, daring airmanship and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 334 (January 1945)
Action Date: 19-Jun-44
Rank: Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron 15 (VF-15)
Division: U.S.S. Essex (CV-9)

Legion of Merit

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Lieutenant Commander Charles Walter Brewer (NSN: 0-73306), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of Composite Squadron THIRTEEN (VC-13) during the period from March 1943 to December 1943. During this period pilots from Lieutenant Commander Brewer's squadron made attacks which resulted in the sinking of several enemy submarines, thereby contributing materially to the success of the campaign against the enemy. The success of this squadron is attributed directly to the outstanding leadership, devotion to duty, professional knowledge and ability of Lieutenant Commander Brewer, and reflects great credit upon the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: March 1943 - December 1943
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Composite Squadron 13 (VC-13)

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Charles Walter Brewer (NSN: 0-73306), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot in Composite Squadron THIRTEEN (VC-13). At about 1530 on 13 July 1943, two U.S. Navy Fighter Planes and two U.S. Navy Torpedo Bombers strafed and bombed a German submarine discovered fully surfaced. Lieutenant Robert Pershing Williams, U.S.N.R., made a torpedo bombing run which seriously disabled the submarine and prevented it from submerging. Lieutenant Commander Brewer and Lieutenant Julius Rueben Brownstein, USN, Fighter Pilots, strafed all anti-aircraft gun crew on board the disabled submarine. These attacks were so successful as to permit a depth charging bombing attack by a U.S. Navy Torpedo Bomber, piloted by Lieutenant, Junior Grade, James Frank Sehoby, which resulted in the complete destruction of the submarine.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Atlantic: Serial 03365 (November 10, 1943)
Action Date: July 13, 1943
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Battalion: Composite Squadron 13 (VC-13)

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Charles Walter Brewer (NSN: 0-73306), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as pilot of a United States Navy Fighter Plane in offensive action against an enemy submarine on 20 October 1943. Lieutenant Commander Brewer was flying on an anti-submarine patrol flight when the pilot of a companion plane sighted a surfaced enemy submarine. Immediately on having his attention attracted to the U-Boat, Lieutenant Commander Brewer commenced an effective strafing attack. Concentrating accurate machine gun fire on the conning tower, he prevented the enemy's anti-aircraft guns from being manned. During the strafing attack over a thousand rounds of machine gun bullets were fired at close range at the enemy resulting in a violent explosion and flame which filled and enveloped the conning tower and superstructure. The aggressiveness and accuracy displayed by Lieutenant Commander Brewer in making a deadly strafing attack, thereby damaging and preventing the hostile U-Boat from taking up defensive anti-aircraft fire against the attacking bomber, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander in Chief Atlantic: Serial 1869 (May 25, 1944)
Action Date: October 20, 1943
Rank: Lieutenant Commander

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Charles Walter Brewer (NSN: 0-73306), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Commander Brewer, as Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron FIFTEEN (VF-15), led his squadron in almost continuous air operations against the enemy from 11 June 1944 until he was missing in action on 19 June 1944. On 19 June 1944, in the approximate position Lat. 17-31 N and Long 144-10 E he led the second of two group air attacks on an enemy convoy which resulted in the destruction of about 40,000 tons of enemy merchant shipping, destroyed at least one destroyer and three escort vessels, and damaged numerous others. His timely coordination and inspiring leadership were in a large part responsible for this major catastrophe to the enemy merchant fleet. His initiation of and persistence in the devastating strafing attack resulted in such major damage to an enemy destroyer that it completely disintegrated on the spot. Immediately after landing aboard upon the completion of this action, Commander Brewer was informed that a sizeable enemy force was engaged in combat with our planes near the Island of Guam. Although at that time, only seven fighting planes remained on board that were in commission, Commander Brewer immediately drew up a task organization and was himself catapulted with the other six planes and proceeded to the assistance of those of our aircraft in the vicinity of Guam. Upon arrival there he found that his seven planes were the only friendly planes remaining in the vicinity to engage with the numerically superior enemy. His quick planning and timely execution enabled this small group to either destroy or rout all enemy planes then present. During this engagement he himself accounted for two enemy planes. Unfortunately, of the original group of seven, only five returned to the ship, Commander Brewer's plane being one of those missing.

Action Date: June 11 - 19, 1944
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Fighting Squadron 15 (VF-15)


Class of 1934

Charles is one of 41 members of the Class of 1934 in Memorial Hall.