Major General Wilburt S. Brown



Major General Wilburt Scott Brown, a combat veteran of both World Wars, the Nicaraguan campaign, and the Korean War, died on 17 December 1968 at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

General Brown was born 20 December 1900, in Beverly, Massachusetts, and attended Holliston High School and Philips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on 28 May 1918 and served with the 20th Company, Fifth Marines in France during World War I, for which he holds two battle clasps and the Purple Heart Medal. 

He was discharged from the Marine Corps to accept appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy on 8 July 1920, but he left the Naval Academy in September, 1922, and reenlisted 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 that course 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, General Brown sailed for Nicaragua in February 1927. He fought in several engagements against rebel bandits in that country, winning the Navy and Marine Corps Medal in 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, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California, until May 1933, when he sailed for duty at the Marine Barracks, Guam. 

Returning from Guam in July 1935, the general 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, General 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

He served in that capacity until July 1941, when 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 and two Marine divisions were trained in amphibious warfare at the base and General 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, the general 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 wars 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, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in June 1949. 

The general embarked for Korea in April 1951, commanding the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, until his return to the United States in December 1951. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his service with that regiment. 

In May 1952, after serving briefly as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence), of the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, General 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, General Brown entered the University of Alabama as a junior and graduated in 1963 with a PhD in History. 

In addition to the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Navy and Marine Corps and Purple Heart Medals, the general’s medals and decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon; the Navy Unit Citation ribbon; the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; the World War I Victory Medal with two combat stars; the Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; the China Service Medal; the American Area Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with one bronze star; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal; the Nicaraguan Medal of Merit; the Order of the Cloud and Banner (China); the Korean Service Medal; the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Marine Corps University