Margaret A. Brewer

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Margaret A. Brewer
Brewer MA USMC.jpg
Brigadier General Brewer, first female Marine Corps general
Born1 July 1930
Durand, Michigan
Died2 January 2013(2013-01-02) (aged 82)
Springfield, Virginia
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service1952–1980
RankUS-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands heldWomen Marines, Norfolk, Virginia
Women Marines, Camp Lejeune
Woman Officers School
Director of Women Marines
Director of Information
Director of Public Affairs
AwardsLegion of Merit (2)

Brigadier General Margaret A. Brewer, USMC (retired) (1 July 1930 – 2 January 2013), was the first female in the United States Marine Corps to reach the rank of general officer.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in Durand, Michigan in 1930, Brewer's parents were Maurice Brewer and Anne Brewer. Her parents divorced early in her life. Her ancestors on her fathers' side were early settlers of Michigan and are buried near Bishop Airport in Flint, Michigan. Brewer received her primary education in Michigan, but later became a graduate of the Catholic High School in Baltimore, Maryland, prior to entering the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She received a bachelor's degree in geography in January 1952 and is also a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

Marine Corps career[edit]

Brewer was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in March 1952. Her first assignment was at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, where she served as a communications watch officer until June 1953. She was then transferred to Brooklyn, New York, for a two-year tour as Inspector-Instructor of a Women Marine Reserve unit.

From September 1955 until June 1958, then Captain Brewer served successively as Commanding Officer of the Women Marine companies at Norfolk, Virginia, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During the 18 months following, she was a platoon commander for woman officer candidates at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, during summer training sessions, and for the balance of the time, a woman officer selection officer with headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.

Transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, in November 1959, for duty with the Commissioned Officers Mess (Open), she was promoted to major in September 1961 and in April 1963 returned to Quantico to serve as executive officer and later as commanding officer of the Woman Officer School.

From June 1966 to February 1968, she was the Public Affairs Officer for the 6th Marine Corps District, Atlanta, Georgia, where she was promoted to lieutenant colonel in December 1966.

She served as Deputy Director of Women Marines, at Headquarters Marine Corps, from March 1968 to March 1971. She was promoted to colonel in December 1970. Reporting to Quantico, she assumed duty as Special Assistant to the Director, Marine Corps Education Center. She became Chief of the Support Department, Marine Corps Education Center in June 1972, serving in this capacity until she was selected as the seventh Director of Women Marines on February 1, 1973.

BGen Margaret A. Brewer promotion ceremony, May 11, 1978

On July 1, 1977, then Colonel Brewer assumed duty as Deputy Director of the Division of Information, Headquarters Marine Corps, when the Director of Women Marines' office was disbanded because of the strides made in integrating women into an expanded role in the Corps. For meritorious service as the Director of Women Marines, she was presented the Legion of Merit by the Commandant of the Marine Corps on June 30, 1977.

While serving as the Deputy Director of the Division of Information, Headquarters Marine Corps, she was nominated during April 1978 for appointment to the grade of brigadier general. She was appointed to that grade and assumed duty as Director of Information on May 11, 1978, at which time she became the first female general officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.[1] On December 1, 1979, the Division of Information was redesignated as the Division of Public Affairs, and Brigadier General Brewer's title was changed to Director of Public Affairs.

Brewer retired in 1980.[2]

Later years[edit]

After retiring she served on the boards of the Catholic Charities of Arlington County, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and attended church at the Saint Thomas More Cathedral.[2] She also worked towards the creation of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Women in Military Service for American Memorial.[2]

She died at Greenspring, a retirement home in Springfield, VA in 2013 of Alzheimer's disease.[3][2]


Gold star
Bronze star
Legion of Merit w/ 1 award star Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "United States Marine Corps Nomination of Colonel Margaret A. Brewer for the Rank of Brigadier General". The American Presidency Project. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, Santa Barbara, CA: University of California (hosted), Gerhard Peters (database). April 6, 1978. Retrieved 2013-01-09. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Carter" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c d Matt Schudel (11 January 2013). "Margaret A. Brewer, first female general in Marine Corps, dies at 82". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  3. ^ Schudel, Matt (12 January 2013). "Obituaries". The Washington Post.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
Preceded by
Jeanette I. Sustad
Director of Women Marines
Succeeded by