Robert J. Brown

NAME
Robert Joseph Brown
NICKNAME
Bobby Joe
MCSN
296184
HOME OF RECORD
216 East Jefferson Street, Havana, IL
NEXT OF KIN
Father, Mr. Harold G. Brown
DATE OF BIRTH
January 21, 1921
DATE OF ENLISTMENT
August 20, 1940
DATE OF LOSS
January 16, 1942
REGION
Pacific
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Philippines / Bataan
CASUALTY TYPE
KIA
UNIT
HQ/3/4th Marines
DUTY
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
PFC Brown volunteered for a raid on a Japanese outpost near Abucay, Bataan, on 15 January 1942. He was mortally wounded by enemy gunfire around 0945 hours, and died of his wounds at Limay the following day.
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK
Private First Class
STATUS OF REMAINS
“Buried US Army Cemetery #1, Plot #7, Limay, Bataan, PI.”
MEMORIALS
Manila American Cemetery

Biography:
Temporarily removed for editing and updating. Contact the webmaster for information on this Marine.


Articles and Records:

 

Photo Gallery:

Personal photographs provided courtesy of Andrew Brown.

15 thoughts on “Robert J. Brown

  1. Comment from Andrew Brown
    23 June, 2012

    My name is Andrew Brown, half brother to PFC Robert Joseph Brown. Does Aschenbrenner’s version of the action on January 15, 1942 conflict with the the official citation for my brother’s DSC?

    Thank you, for the post and any additional information you may have.

    1. Reply to Andrew Brown
      24 June 2012

      Mr Brown – thank you for writing! The only verbatim account from Cpl. Aschenbrenner that I’ve come across is Donald J. Young’s book, which you can find here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51299958/4/The-Battle-Is-Joined

      Aschenbrenner’s version is on the top of page 34. The author noted that his was the only eyewitness account of what happened on the patrol. However, PFC Brown’s citation would have to have been written up by an officer – and since this was an Army award, that could only have been Captain Wermuth – I would be very surprised if the citation was inaccurate, for a few reasons. Primarily because only 31 Marines received this award during the war – and of those, PFC Brown was the first. It wouldn’t make sense to give a cross-branch decoration (especially one as high as the DSC) without good cause, and Captain Wermuth was quite the fire-eater himself. There would quite simply be no point in posthumously decorating a man outside of his command simply for volunteering to go on a patrol. So between the two, I would argue that the citation is the correct version.

      There may be more information in the book “Rogues of Bataan” by Ted Williams, but I haven’t come across a copy of that yet.

      Best,

      Geoffrey

  2. Comment from Dan Pushman
    12 September 2012

    Dear Geoffrey, In my research of Captain Wermuth I have found conflicting accounts of his character; as you have probably discovered yourself. This in no way diminishes PFC Brown’s actions that resulted in his receiving the Distinguished Service Cross. But neither would I discount Pvt Aschenbrenner’s pragmatic account of the engagement as he had no reason to be evasive about the incident, other than to add to the discussion of Captain Wermuth’s actions as a combat leader and prisoner of war. As the nephew of a missing marine (an uncle was an aircrewman blown to smithereens over/on Okinawa), I understand how you would not want to trivialize their loved ones supreme sacrifice, but some people would rather not have combat actions embellished to make up for the dirty, ugly, painful death of a loved one and prefer the harsh truth that “war is hell” .

    1. Reply to Dan Pushman
      12 September 2012

      Mr. Pushman,
      As stated in an earlier post, reply, I am PFC Brown’s half brother. Your comment leaves me somewhat confused as to the truth of what happened. Are you saying that it is more likely that Pvt Aschenbrenner’s account is more accurate than that of Captain Wermuth’s which led to the official citation; that my brother received his Distinguished Service Cross because Captain Wermuth decided to “embellish”?

      Andrew Brown

  3. Comment from John Poindexter
    5 March 2015

    I find this web site very interesting, Archie Shelton is my uncle and I don’t have a lot of information on his military service except that he was captured in May 1942, and he also was in the same unit as Bobby Joe Brown. If you have any infofmation on my uncle it would like to have it. I have spoken with Edward Jackfort he was in the US Army air corp., and he spent three and a half years as a POW with Archie and they were in Kawasaki # 2B POW camp and Archie was killed on 7/25/1945.

    1. Reply to John Poindexter
      6 March 2015

      The only thing I can tell you is to contact the national archives in St Louis on Page Avenue. You can request to view your uncle’s complete file and even make copies for yourself. The archives has good records for Marines, but not so much for those who served in the army. Fire destroyed a great deal of the Army record.
      The photos that I provided are about all I have. Of the two pictures taken at Cavite, Is your uncle the marine standing with my brother?
      There is a book called “The Rogues of Bataan” that has some background on that unit. But it is a hard one to find. The author’s name is Ted Williams, (not the ballplayer)

      1. Reply to Andrew Brown
        8 October 2015

        Sir,

        If you could please call our office at (800) 847-1597 to discuss your brothers case and the current family composition in regards to PFC Robert Joseph Brown.
        It is our offices mission to provide surviving next of kin support in matters such as this. HQMC Casualty, POW/MIA Affairs.

      2. Reply to Andrew Brown
        6 March 2015

        I am not sure but it could Archie, the only pictures I have of him were taken in 1937 from his year book, and a picture of him taken in 1939 In his marine green uniform. My grandparents used his high school picture for his obituary. I got to talk to Ted Williams in 2005 but it was not until I saw this article about your half brother that I learned that what he told me made any since. I have gone to my local library and am trying to get his book on inter library loan. In Wellsburg WV they have a museum of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, and they have lots information and hopefully they have a copy of Ted Williams book because I have yet to find one. Where did you get your information, I have learned more in this article than I have been able to find on my own.

    2. Reply to John Poindexter
      6 March 2015

      Mr Poindexter – great to hear from you. I would second what Mr Brown says – definitely see about getting your uncle’s record from the National Archives.

      There are some professional services that will get it for you (I use and fully recommend Golden Arrow Research), or you can fill out the SF-180 form and send it in yourself:
      http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html

      The SF-180 takes a little bit longer, but I understand that the Archives are no longer releasing medical records to third party researchers – a bit of a problem, since dental records are so important to ID work – but they might do so for families.

      I’ll look through some of my records this weekend, and if I can find out anything else about Archie Shelton I’ll be sure to send it along.

      Best,
      Geoffrey

      1. Reply to missingmarines
        9 March 2015

        Thank you for the information on obtaining Archie’s military records I printed a copy of form 180, I will fill the form out and seen it to St. Louis and hopfully obtain them quickly. Do you know of any way of obtaining records for the 1st seperate Marine Battalion or original 4th Marines, or obtain a copy of Ted Williams book.

      2. Reply to John Poindexter
        9 march 2015

        The log book of the 4th Marines on Corregidor is up online at http://www.fold3.com – you’ll need a membership to view it, but if you’re pursuing any other military research, it’s an invaluable resource. It runs from about December 10, 1941 to the surrender, and many entries are handwritten, which is fascinating.

        You might also want to get in touch with the Marine Corps History Division at Quantico; they’re a fantastic resource and always very helpful. Original records are probably kept at the National Archives, but the Quantico staff can definitely get you pointed in the right direction.

        https://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision

        As far as Rouges of Bataan – it’s been out of print for a while now, and prices get steep pretty quickly. (There’s one on Amazon.com right now for $100.) I’ve had good luck finding out of print books on eBay, too. According to WorldCat it’s available in libraries throughout the country, so that might be a better option before shelling out for a personal copy.

        Good luck with your SF180 request – keep us posted on what you discover!

        Geoff

  4. Comment from MACCS History
    9 September 2015

    Gentlemen,
    I have been leading up a research effort that is tracing the development of Aviation Command and Control within the Marine Corps. As part of this effort I have been looking into the history of the Marine Air Warning Detachment in the Philippines during 41-42. It is really the first Marine Aviation C2 unit in combat. They were the precursor of a much larger occupational field within the Marine Corps. The end result of this project is a book that is currently being written and eventually a website to hang all of the info we have obtained. Mr. Poindexter and Mr. Brown I would be very interested to speak with you with regard to your deceased relatives. I can offer some detailed information on what they were doing and I also have a copy of Mr. William’s book. I also have some material on another member of the detachment that may help fill in some blanks. If interested please email me a maccshistory@gmail.com.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    1. Reply to MACCS History
      13 September 2015

      My half brother, PFC R J Brown, was KIA 9 years before I was born. All I know is what has been passed down by family word of mouth except for the book by Mr Williams and an article in the December 1961 Argosy entitled ” One man army of Bataan” which was really the story of Captain Wermuth. The events surrounding the action that my brother saw were related in that story. I did go to the archive center in St Louis and made a copy of Bobby Joe’s service record. I have been curious to know what the actual function of his unit was and if they were really able to perform there duties in the aspect of air raid warning.

      I would very much like to know as much as possible about my brother’s unit.

      Andrew Brown

      1. Reply to Andrew Brown
        15 September 2015

        Mr. Brown,
        Thanks for the note. See the following link for the Story of Mr Irvin Scott – ( http://www.redskinshistorian.com/sites/default/files/docs/WWII%20article.pdf ) He was also with the Air Warning Detachment and spent 3 1/2 years as a POW in the Philippines and main land Japan. They were the only operational radar unit in the Philippines after the opening salvos of the war. They operated their SCR-270 until the day before they surrendered at Marivales. They were not doing GCI as much as routing American planes away from the Japanese planes so they could last longer. They blew up the radar and dumped it in Manila Bay so the Japanese would not get hold of it. Of the 34 men that were part of the detachment, your half brother was the only KIA during the Battle of Bataan. 15 of the gentlemen died during thier time as POWs. See the following link for info on where many are interred – (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=548409 ) If you send me your email address I can send you some additional info from Mr. William’s book. Thanks for reaching out.

        Cheers,
        Mark

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