Retired Brig. Gen. Margaret A. Brewer, the first female general officer in the Marine Corps, died Jan. 2. She was 82.
"Throughout her three decades of service to our Corps and country, she truly led from the front and helped the Marine Corps integrate women more fully into the force,’ Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said in a statement he put out Monday night.
“She served during an era when many thought that women had no place in the Corps, but she proved critics wrong time and again,” Amos said. “It's never easy being the first, but she was both the first female general officer and the first Director of Public Affairs and met the challenges and responsibilities of each with professionalism and grace.”
Brewer was serving as the director when she retired in 1980.
Brewer was born in Durand, Mich., in 1930, and later moved to Baltimore, where she graduated from Catholic High School. She earned a Bachelor’s in geography from the University of Michigan in 1952 and later was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant, according to the Marine Corps History Division.
Her first assignment was at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Calif., where she served as a communications watch officer until June 1953. Next she served two years as an inspector-instructor of a woman Marine reserve unit in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Follow on assignments included commanding officer of the woman Marine companies at Norfolk, Va., and Camp Lejeune, N.C. , platoon commander for women officer candidates at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., and a woman officer selection officer with headquarters in Lexington, Ky., according to her official biography.
By 1966 she was a lieutenant colonel and the public affairs officer for the 6th Marine Corps District, Atlanta, Ga. Brewer next served as deputy director of women Marines at Headquarters Marine Corps. She made colonel in 1970 and subsequently was named Special Assistant to the Director, Marine Corps Education Center.
In 1977, Brewer became Deputy Director of the Division of Information, Headquarters Marine Corps, after her job as Director of Women Marines was phased out as women were fully integrated into the Corps.
She was promoted to brigadier general in 1978.
“Brig. Gen. Brewer was an amazing and courageous woman who has left an indelible mark on the rich legacy of our Corps and she will be missed,” Amos said. “On the behalf of all Marines, we send our condolences to her family and friends."