Wilburt S. Brown

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Wilburt Scott Brown
Brown WS.jpg
Major General Wilburt S. Brown, USMC
Nickname(s) "Big Foot"[1]
Born (1900-12-20)20 December 1900
Beverly, Massachusetts
Died 17 December 1968(1968-12-17) (aged 67)
Birmingham, Alabama
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1918–1920, 1922–1953
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 4th Battalion, 10th Marines
15th Marines
11th Marines
10th Marines
1st Marines
Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Korean War
Awards Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit (2) with Combat "V"
Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Purple Heart Medal

Wilburt Scott Brown (20 December 1900 – 17 December 1968) was a United States Marine Corps general who was a combat veteran of World War I, Nicaraguan campaign, World War II, and the Korean War. He served in the Marine Corps for thirty-five years, from 1918 to 1953.


Wilburt Scott Brown was born on 20 December 1900, in Beverly, Massachusetts, and attended Holliston High School and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

World War I[edit]

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 28 May 1918 and served with the 20th Company, 5th Marines in France during World War I, for which he holds two battle clasps and the Purple Heart Medal.

On 8 July 1920, Brown was discharged from the Marine Corps to accept an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, however he left the Academy in September 1922, and re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was commissioned a second lieutenant from the ranks on 19 February 1925.

In July 1925, after serving as a company officer at the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia, he entered the Officers Basic School at the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia. On completing Basic School, he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, where he rejoined the 20th Company, 5th Marines, with which he had served in World War I. That company was among those chosen to represent the Marine Corps at the Philadelphia Exposition of 1926 until it was called out to guard the mails during an outbreak of robberies.

With the 5th Marines, Brown sailed for Nicaragua in February 1927. He fought in several engagements against rebel bandits in that country, and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for an action near Buena Vista on 19 January 1928.

He returned from Nicaragua in May 1929, and was assigned to the Sea School at the Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California. That October he joined the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Saratoga, serving on that ship until June 1931. He then served at the Marine Barracks, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, until May 1933, when he sailed for duty at the Marine Barracks, Guam.

Returning from Guam in July 1935, Brown served for two months as executive officer of the rifle range detachment at Quantico before entering the Base Defense Weapons Course in the Marine Corps Schools there. After graduating, he commanded an artillery battery of the 1st Marine Brigade at Quantico until the Fall of 1936, when he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, San Diego.

At San Diego, Brown commanded a 155mm battery with the 2nd Marine Brigade until February 1938, when he was ordered to the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island. There, he was Assistant Acting Quartermaster and member of the Naval Retiring Board until June 1939, when he took command of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38).

World War II[edit]

In July 1941, he returned to San Diego to become executive officer, and later, commander of the 4th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.

He left San Diego in March 1942, to serve as executive officer of the 8th Defense Battalion in the Pacific theater. Returning to the United States in January 1943, he was assigned to San Diego until he entered an advanced artillery school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

After completing the school, he helped organize the Troop Training Unit at the Amphibious Training Base, Coronado and Morro Bay, California, later serving as artillery and naval gunfire instructor with that unit. During this period, four Army infantry regiments and two Marine Corps divisions were trained in amphibious warfare at the base, and Brown became one of the pioneers in the coordination of naval gunfire, artillery, and air support. He taught and practiced those tactics throughout his subsequent service.

In October 1944, Brown was again ordered to the Pacific theater, where he organized and briefly commanded the 15th Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division. He then took command of the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment, 1st Marine Division, serving in that capacity during the Okinawa campaign and in China at the war's end. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” for outstanding service at Okinawa and an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for his service in China.

Returning from China in October 1946, General Brown was assigned to the Air University, Maxwell Field, Alabama, as an instructor in the Naval Division. While teaching amphibious warfare and the coordination of fire and air support there, he completed the Air Command and Staff School. He left Maxwell Field to take command of the 10th Marine Artillery Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in June 1949.

Korean War[edit]

Brown embarked for Korea in April 1951, commanding the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from May 1951 to July 1951.[2] He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his service with the 1st Marines. He returned to the United States in December 1951.

In May 1952, after serving briefly as assistant chief of staff, G-2 (Intelligence), of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Brown was assigned to the staff of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill. He was promoted to brigadier general in August 1952, and in October 1952, returned to Camp Pendleton to serve as commanding general, Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He was promoted to major general on retirement after thirty-five years of service, on 1 December 1953.

After his retirement, Brown entered the University of Alabama as a junior and graduated in 1963 with a PhD in history.

Major General Brown died on 17 December 1968 at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

Military awards[edit]

Brown's decorations and awards include:

Gold star
Fourragère CG.png
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Silver Star Medal Legion of Merit w/ one oak leaf cluster Navy and Marine Corps Medal Purple Heart Medal French Fourragère
2nd Row Navy Presidential Unit Citation Navy Unit Commendation Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal World War I Victory Medal w/ two clasps
3rd Row Nicaraguan Campaign Medal (1933) China Service Medal American Defense Service Medal w/ one clasp (316" bronze star) American Campaign Medal
4th Row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ one 316" bronze star World War II Victory Medal Navy Occupation Service Medal National Defense Service Medal
5th Row Korean Service Medal w/ two 316" bronze stars Nicaraguan Medal of Merit Order of the Cloud and Banner United Nations Korea Medal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simmons, BGen.Edwin H., USMC (2004). "Chapter 27: Robert Hilliard Barrow". In Allan Reed Millett andJack Shulimson. Commandants of the Marine Corps. Naval Institute Press. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-87021-012-9. 
  2. ^ "Commanding Officers – 1st Marines – Korean War era". Marines – Accounts of the Korean War. Korean War Educator. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Wilburt S. (1969). Amphibious Campaign for West Florida and Louisiana, 1814–1815: A critical review of strategy and tactics at New Orleans. 
  • Gordon, Martin K. (1973). Register of the Wilburt Scott Brown Papers, 1900–1968.