FDR Presidential Library. Cropped by author.
Wilson Brown graduated from the Naval Academy in
making him one of the oldest American naval officers to serve in combat
during the war.
He had been a staff officer with the Atlantic Squadron during World War
had commanded a destroyer.
Between the wars he attended the Naval Staff College and commanded the
New London submarine base and battleship
He was the naval
aide to President
Roosevelt in the
1930s, and Roosevelt was sufficiently impressed to see to it that Brown
appointed superintendent of the Naval Academy. Brown had also played an
important role in amphibious
planning for Pacific Fleet
The attack on Pearl
found Brown a vice admiral in command of the scouting
forces of the Pacific Fleet.
Though not an aviator, he
was placed in command of the Lexington
task force. This force played a key role in the early U.S. carrier raids, including
the dramatic Lae-Salamaua raid across the Owen
Stanley Mountains of New Guinea.
Although King believed that
Brown was "pretty good", his deteriorating health led King to have Nimitz moved him back to Pearl Harbor as commander of his
Brown subsequently fell ill and was reposted to Boston as commandant of 1 Naval District. He then served as Roosevelt's naval adviser, retiring in 1944 from active duty in the Navy.
Brown was "an intelligent paragon of old school
formality" (Lundstrom 2006.) His age was evident during his stint in
command of combat forces, where he was dubbed "Shaky" by junior
officers on account of his slight head tremor.
||Born at Philadelphia
||Graduates from Naval Academy,
standing 44th in a class of 59
||Staff, Naval Forces in European
||Commander, DD Parker
||Naval War College
||Executive officer, Colorado
||Naval aide to the President
||Commander, New London Submarine Base
||Chief of staff, Naval War College
||Commander, Training Squadron
||Superintendent, Naval Academy
||Vice admiral (brevet)
||Commander, Scouting Force|
Force, Pacific Fleet
||Rear admiral||Commander, 1 Naval District
||Naval aide to the President|
||Retires but remains a naval adviser to the President
||Dies at New Haven Naval
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