Brown, Luther, Col

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0302-Infantry Officer
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1940-1945, 0302, MarDet Tientsin-Peking
Service Years
1921 - 1946
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Cold War Certificate
Golden Dragon Certificate



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This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Michael Frederick (Fred) to remember Marine Col Luther Brown (Luke/Handbook Brown).

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
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Major Brown earned quite a reputation as a POW.

Still fit and trim at 41, Brown possessed a dynamic personality and impeccable military bearing. He always had on a polished Sam Brown belt, in full greens and shined shoes, neatly shaven and a well-trimmed 'Ronald Coleman' mustache," marveled Pfc. Jack R. Williamson. Brown made it clear to both the North China and Wake marines that they still belonged to the Marine Corps, POWs or not. "We are a military organization," he preached, "and I intend to see that we remain one. To do that, there must be discipline." In the prewar Marine Corps, Brown was known as "Handbook" Brown for authoring The Marine?s Handbook, the enlisted man's primary guide to service life. He was as tough as he was savvy. When one imprisoned leatherneck responded to a reprimand by snarling, "Goddamn the Marine Corps!" the major laid him out with a roundhouse punch to the face.

Brown demonstrated the same indomitable spirit in dealing with the Japanese. Among Brown's most prized possessions was a U.S. Army training manual, The Rules for Land Warfare, which contained excerpts from the Geneva Convention on the proper treatment of POWs. Whenever his keepers violated the convention, Brown would march into the commandant's office to file a forceful and authoritative protest. "He never quit trying to make life better for us," remembered Cpl. Terence S. Kirk. "Every time I saw him heading for a conference with the Japs, he clutched his international law book like a preacher going to church with a bible."

Brown never showed the Japanese the slightest hint of fear. When an enemy interpreter slapped him in the face in the presence of the camp commandant, the Marine major promptly decked him. On another occasion, Brown disarmed a different interpreter who was drawing his samurai sword to behead Sir Mark Young, the British governor-general of Hong Kong. In another camp, such gestures would have earned Brown a summary execution, but authorities at Shanghai were either too impressed or intimidated by his courage to punish him.

Liberated from Hakodate No. 4 in Sept. 1945
Other Comments:
Author of "The Marine's Handbook," required reading for every Marine for many years.

XO of North China Marine embassy and legation guards & CO of Tientsin detachment. Ordered to surrender on 8 Dec 1941. Held at Woosung, Kiangwan, Fengtai, Hakodate #4 POW camps from 1941 - 1945

Recognized for outstanding job keeping USMC prisoners disciplined and morale high. Fought with Japanese guards on a continual basis to maintain adherence to Geneva Convention.
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 Unit Assignments
MCB Quantico, VAUSMC (United States Marine Corps)
  1939-1940, 0302, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA
  1940-1945, 0302, MarDet Tientsin-Peking
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 World War II/American Theater
  1941-1945 World War II1
 Colleges Attended
United States Naval Academy
  1917-1921, United States Naval Academy
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