Robert S. Brown – Major, United States Marine Corps

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.

Richard Tregaskis tells in his book about a Marine crawling like a wounded dog on the ridge. He may have been referring to me.” As Sweeda crawled onward, slowly and painfully making his way toward a small truck on the road behind Hill #2, he saw Major Robert Brown heading in the same direction. Brown was holding the wrist of one bleeding hand from which a finger dangled, held only by a flap of skin.

Sweeda was lifted into the truck bed along with several other wounded, and three stretcher cases were placed athwart the truck bed. As the truck moved out, however, it was raked by a sudden burst of machine gun fire from the edge of the jungle. The driver was hit, and the truck rolled to a stop as the Japanese gun crew continued to spray the vehicle with its helpless casualties. Sweeda remembers “yelling with the other wounded for someone to move the truck. I didn’t remember how or when the truck did move, but I do remember someone at the field hospital rolling me over and jabbing a needle in my rear end …when I awoke I lay on a cot in the hot sun. There were wounded all around.” Sometime later he learned that Major Brown and two others were killed in the ambush.

United States Marine Corps
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/06/1907
DATE OF DEATH: 09/14/1942

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