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

From the July-August issue of Shipmate.

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)

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1934

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command: ENS John Moore '32, ENS Robert Vandling '32, and 2LT David McDougal '33.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Robert Coates '30 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 2B).

January 1935

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command: ENS Robert Vandling '32, 2LT David McDougal '33, and ENS Arthur Newman '34.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Robert Coates '30 (Observation Plane Squadron (VO) 2B).

April 1935

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command: ENS Robert Vandling '32 and 2LT David McDougal '33.

October 1935

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command: LT Robert Johnson '24, LTjg Robert Vandling '32, and ENS John Little, III '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS Thomas Peters '33 (Battleship Division 2).

January 1936

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command: LT Robert Johnson '24, LTjg Robert Vandling '32, and ENS John Little, III '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS Thomas Peters '33 (Battleship Division 2).

April 1936

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command: LT Robert Johnson '24, LTjg Robert Vandling '32, and ENS John Little, III '35.

Others at or embarked at this command: ENS Thomas Peters '33 (Battleship Division 2).

September 1937

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Squadron (VF) 4, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Robert Strickler '32, LTjg William Townsend '32, and LTjg Frank Fernald '33.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Vernon Hain '31 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg George Hutchinson '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), and ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger).

January 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), Fighting Squadron (VF) 4, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LTjg Robert Strickler '32, LTjg William Townsend '32, and LTjg Frank Fernald '33.

Others at or embarked at USS Ranger: LT Donald Lovelace '28 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Archibald Greenlee '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg Dewitt Shumway '32 (Scouting Squadron (VS) 41), LTjg George Hutchinson '32 (Bombing Squadron (VB) 4), ENS John Daub, Jr. '36 (USS Ranger), and ENS William Hulson '36 (USS Ranger).

July 1938

Lieutenant (j.g.), Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at this command: LT Charles Ostrom '30.

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville: ENS John Hunter '36 (USS Louisville) and ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville).

January 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at this command: LT Charles Ostrom '30.

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville: ENS John Hunter '36 (USS Louisville) and ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville).

October 1939

Lieutenant (j.g.), Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Louisville

Others at or embarked at USS Louisville: LT Arthur Spring '30 (USS Louisville) and ENS Herold Harveson '37 (USS Louisville).

June 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 5, USS Helena

Others at or embarked at USS Helena: LCDR Elmer Buerkle '25 (USS Helena), ENS Richard Sampson '38 (USS Helena), ENS David Pope '39 (USS Helena), ENS Richard Helm '39 (USS Helena), ENS Cyrus Radford, Jr. '40 (USS Helena), and ENS Paul Thompson '40 (USS Helena).

November 1940

Lieutenant (j.g.), Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Others at this command: LCDR George Grove '15, CDR William Sample '19, LT Finley Hall '29, LT John Yoho '29, LT William Pennewill '29, LT Lance Massey '30, LT Albert Major, Jr. '32, LT Daniel Gothie '32, LT Dewitt Shumway '32, LT George Bellinger '32, LT John Spiers '32, LT Martin Koivisto '32, ENS Frank Peterson '33, LTjg John Phillips, Jr. '33, LTjg Charles Ware '34, CAPT Floyd Parks '34, LTjg Frank Whitaker '34, LTjg George Nicol '34, LTjg Philip Torrey, Jr. '34, LTjg Walker Ethridge '34, LTjg Allan Edmands '35, LTjg John Powers '35, LTjg Richard Stephenson '35, LTjg Victor Gadrow '35, LTjg Porter Maxwell '36, LTjg Roy Krogh '36, LTjg Frank Henderson, Jr. '37, LTjg John Thomas '37, LTjg John Boal '37, LTjg Richard Hughes '37, ENS Alphonse Minvielle '38, ENS Carl Holmstrom '38, ENS Charles Anderson '38, ENS Charles King '38, ENS Charles Reimann '38, ENS Curtis Howard '38, ENS Donald Smith '38, 2LT Douglas Keeler '38, ENS Edmundo Gandia '38, ENS Eric Allen, Jr. '38, ENS Frank Quady '38, ENS Frank Case, Jr. '38, ENS Harry Bass '38, ENS Harry Howell '38, ENS Howard Clark '38, ENS Howard Fischer '38, ENS James Ginn '38, 2LT James Owens '38, ENS Jep Jonson '38, ENS John Kelley '38, ENS John Erickson '38, 2LT John Maclaughlin, Jr. '38, ENS John Eversole '38, ENS Leonard Thornhill '38, ENS Marion Dufilho '38, ENS Osborne Wiseman '38, ENS Oswald Zink '38, ENS Richard Crommelin '38, ENS Robert Seibels, Jr. '38, ENS Roy Green, Jr. '38, ENS Roy Hale, Jr. '38, ENS William Brady '38, ENS William Tate, Jr. '38, and ENS William Lamberson '38.


Class of 1934

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