MARGARET A. BREWER
Brigadier General Margaret A. Brewer, the first female general officer in the Marine Corps, retired on 1 July 1980. She had been serving as the Director of Public Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.
Born in Durand, Michigan, in 1930, she received her primary education in Michigan but graduated from 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 was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in March of that year.
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 woman Marine reserve unit.
From September 1955 until June 1958, then Captain Brewer served successively as Commanding Officer of the woman Marine companies at Norfolk, Virginia, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During the 18 months following, she was a platoon commander for woman officer candidates at 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 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 1 February 1973.
On 1 July 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 30 June 1977.
While serving as the Deputy Director of the Division of Information, 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 11 May 1978, at which time she became the first female general officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. On 1 December 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.
Brigadier General Brewer passed away on 2 January 2013 at the age of 82.