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


Class of 1931

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