Brigadier General Margaret A. Brewer retired from the Marine Corps on July 1, 1980. She was the first female general in the Marine Corps.
Born in Durand, Mich., in 1930, she received her primary education in Michigan but graduated from the Catholic High School in Baltimore, Md., prior to entering the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She received a bachelor's degree in geography in January 1952, and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant in March of that year. Her first assignment was at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Calif., where she served as a communications watch officer until June 1953. She was then transferred to Brooklyn, N.Y. for a two-year tour as Inspector-Instructor of a woman Marine reserve unit.
From September 1955 until June 1958, then Captain Brewer served successively as Commanding Officer of the woman Marine companies at Norfolk, Va., and Camp Lejeune, N.C. During the 18 months following, she was a platoon commander for woman officer candidates at Quantico, Va., during summer training sessions, and for the balance of time, a woman officer selection officer with headquarters in Lexington, Ky.
Transferred to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in November 1959, for duty with the Commissioned Officers Mess (Open), she was promoted to major in September 1961 and in April 1963 returned to Quantico to serve as executive officer and later as commanding officer of the Woman Officer School. From June 1966 to February 1968, she was the Public Affairs Officer for the 6th Marine Corps District, Atlanta, Ga., where she was promoted to lieutenant colonel in December 1966.
She served as Deputy Director of Women Marines, at Headquarters Marine Corps, from March 1968 to March 1971. She was promoted to colonel in December 1970. Reporting to Quantico, she assumed duty as Special Assistant to the Director, Marine Corps Education Center. She became Chief of the Support Department, Marine Corps Education Center in June 1972, serving in this capacity until she was selected as the seventh Director of Women Marines on February 1, 1973.
On July 1, 1977, then Colonel Brewer assumed duty as Deputy Director of the Division of Information, Headquarters Marine Corps, when the Director of Women Marines' office was disbanded because of the strides made in integrating women into an expanded role in the Corps. For meritorious service as the Director of Women Marines, she was presented the Legion of Merit by the Commandant of the Marine Corps on June 30, 1977.
She became a brigadier general and assumed duty as Director of Information on May 11, 1978, at which time she became the first female general officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. On December 1, 1979, the Division of Information was redesignated as the Division of Public Affairs, and Brigadier General Brewer's title was changed to Director of Public Affairs. She served in this capacity until retirement on July.