ROBERT S. BROWN, MAJ, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Robert Brown '31

Date of birth: August 6, 1907

Date of death: September 14, 1942

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1931 Lucky Bag:


Obituary

1931 Brown 1.jpg

From Arlington National Cemetery.net:

My father, Major Robert S. Brown, was born 6 August 1907 in Wilson, Mississippi County, Arkansas.

He attended the University of Mississippi for two years before receiving an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated with the Class of 1931 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

He attended Marine Officer's Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. His duty stations included Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey, Parris Island, South Carolina, Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Ranger on her shakedown cruise to Argentina, Marine Barracks, Guam, the American Legation, Peking, China and MCB,Quantico, Virginia.

We were at Quantico when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. My father was the S-3 Officer, First Marine Raider Battalion, under the command of Colonel Merritt Edson.

He was killed the 14th of September 1942 on the island of Guadalcanal and was postumously awarded the Navy Cross. Robert Brown, rsbrown@clark.net

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Loss

From USMC Raiders:

Major Robert S. Brown was Colonel Edson’s operations officer, tactical coordinator, and planner; in short, his factotum, During the withdrawal to the final defensive position on the first night, when secure communication was impossible, except tete-a-tete, he ranged across the entire width of the front, relaying orders, reorganizing the defense, and leading units into new positions. During the fighting on the night of 13-14 September, he again was all over the battlefield, verifying the situation for Edson and providing assistance and advice to the unit commanders.

Career

From Together We Served:

  • 1931-1932, TBS The Basic School (Faculty Staff)
  • 1932-1932, Marine Corps Det, NAS Lakehurst, NJ
  • 1932-1932, Naval Aviation Schools Command (NASC), Pensacola, FL
  • 1932-1933, Marine Barracks Norfolk Naval Base (NOB), VA
  • 1933-1934, Sea School MarBks NNSY Portsmouth VA
  • 1934-1935, USS Ranger (CVA-61)
  • 1935-1937, H&S Bn/Brig MCRD Parris Island
  • 1937-1938, Marine Barracks Guam
  • 1938-1939, MARDET American Legation, Peking, China
  • 1939-1940, USMC (United States Marine Corps)/Formal Schools
  • 1940-1941, 5th Marine Regiment/1st Bn, 5th Marine Regiment (1/5)
  • 1941-1942, 0302, 1st Raider Bn/HQ Co

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Major Robert Samuel Brown (MCSN: 0-4661), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as Operations Officer of the FIRST Marine Raider Battalion, during the enemy Japanese attack on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on the night of 13 and 14 September 1942. Adeptly reorganizing troops which had withdrawn from the main line of resistance to the rear of the reserve line, Major Brown committed them to action under direction of the Battalion Commander. Afterward, reporting for duty at a point along the line where a hostile breakthrough was imminent, he, with proficient skill and complete disregard for his own personal safety, assisted in the defense of the position until he was wounded by the explosion of a Japanese hand grenade. While he was being evacuated from the Battalion aid station, the ambulance in which he was a passenger was subjected to merciless machine gun fire and he was killed. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

General Orders: SPOT AWARD, Commander in Chief Pacific Forces: Serial 19 (January 2, 1943)
Action Date: September 13 - 14, 1942
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Major
Company: Operations Officer
Battalion: 1st Marine Raider Battalion

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.

July 1931

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Harold Bauer '30 and 2LT Harold Larson '31.

October 1931

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Harold Larson '31.

January 1932

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Harold Larson '31.

April 1932

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Others at this command: 2LT Harold Larson '31.

October 1932

2nd Lieutenant, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia

January 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia

April 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia

July 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia

October 1933

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia

April 1934

2nd Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia

July 1934

2nd Lieutenant, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LT Samuel Arthur '20, LT Robert Bedilion '22, LTjg James Kyes '30, ENS William Sisko '31, and ENS Earle Schneider '33.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT LaRue Lawbaugh '20 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Bruce Van Voorhis '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B), LTjg William Pennewill '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg John Burgess '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B), and LTjg Robert Haven '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B).

October 1934

2nd Lieutenant, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LCDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15, LT Samuel Arthur '20, LT Robert Bedilion '22, LTjg James Kyes '30, ENS William Sisko '31, and ENS Earle Schneider '33.

Others at or embarked at this command: LTjg Clair Miller '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg William Pennewill '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg John Burgess '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg Robert Haven '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B), and LTjg Alden Irons '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B).

January 1935

1st Lieutenant, USS Ranger

Others at this command: LCDR Francis Maile, Jr. '15, LT Samuel Arthur '20, LT Robert Bedilion '22, LTjg James Kyes '30, ENS William Sisko '31, and ENS Earle Schneider '33.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Hallsted Hopping '24 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Oscar Pate, Jr. '27 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg Clair Miller '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg William Pennewill '29 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg Gilbert Carpenter '30 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 1B), LTjg John Burgess '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), LTjg Robert Haven '30 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B), LTjg Alden Irons '31 (Fighting Plane Squadron (VF) 3B), LTjg Lorenz Forbes '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 3B), and LTjg William Freshour '31 (Bombing Plane Squadron (VB) 5B).

April 1935

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina

October 1935

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina

January 1936

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina

April 1936

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina

July 1936

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina

Others at this command: 2LT Robert Moore '36.

January 1937

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina

Others at this command: 2LT Robert Moore '36.

April 1937

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Station Guam

September 1937

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Station Guam

January 1938

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Station Guam

July 1938

1st Lieutenant, Marine Barracks, Naval Station Guam

January 1939

Captain, American Embassy, Peiping, China

October 1939

Captain, Marine Corps Schools, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia

Others at this command: CAPT Ernest Pollock '28 and CAPT John Heil '28.

June 1940

Captain, unassigned, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, Quantico, Virginia

November 1940

Captain, Company B commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

April 1941

Captain, Company B commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba


Class of 1931

Robert is one of 51 members of the Class of 1931 on Virtual Memorial Hall.