Brown, Robert Thomas, LTJG Fallen
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary Designator/NEC
112X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Submarine Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Navy Officer Classification/Designator
Last Duty Station
1942-1944, USS Scorpion (SS-278)
Service Years
1942 - 1944
Lieutenant Junior Grade Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Feb 01, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Lost At Sea-Unrecovered
South China Sea
USS Scorpion (SS-278)
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Manila, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Tablets of the Missing (cenotaph)

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
On 5 April Scorpion departed Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol, a hunting and mining mission off the east coast of Honsh. On 19 April, she reached the mining area near Nakaminato. During the afternoon she reconnoitered the coast and in the evening she laid her naval mines, then retired to deep water. On 20 April she sank her first enemy ship, a 1934-ton converted gunboat. On 21 April, prior to 01:00, she fired on and destroyed her first sampan in surface action, then moved up the coast to observe the fishing grounds, shipping lanes, and coastline of the Shioya Saki area. On the night of 22 April she destroyed three more sampans with gunfire and continued north, toward Kinkasan To.

With the absence of shipping along the coastal lanes she moved seaward and on 27 April sighted a convoy of four freighters escorted by a destroyer. At 04:59, she launched four torpedoes at the first and largest merchantman; two at the second; then dived and rigged for depth charging. At 05:05, the destroyer dropped her first depth charges. A half-hour later, the Japanese warship broke off her search for Scorpion to aid the stricken passenger-cargo ship. While Scorpion escaped with slight damage, the 6380-ton merchant vessel sank.

On 28 April, Scorpion received orders home. En route on 29 April, she sighted and engaged a 100-ton patrol vessel, which she left burning to the waterline. On the morning of 30 April, she stalked, fired on, and finally torpedoed and sank a 600-ton patrol ship. During the hour and three-quarters fight, however, Scorpion received her first casualty. Lieutenant Commander R.M. Raymond, on board as prospective commanding officer, was hit and killed by gunfire.

Soon after the patrol vessel went down, an enemy plane appeared. Scorpion submerged; survived the plane's depth charges and continued toward Midway Island and Pearl Harbor, arriving on 8 May.

Departing Pearl Harbor on 29 December 1943, Scorpion stopped at Midway Island to top off with fuel, and left that place on 3 January 1944, to conduct her fourth war patrol. Her assigned area was in the northern East China Sea and Yellow Sea.

On the morning of 5 January, Scorpion reported that one of her crew had sustained a fracture of the upper arm and requested a rendezvous with Herring(SS-233) which was returning from patrol and was near her. The rendezvous was accomplished on that afternoon but heavy seas prevented the transfer. "Scorpion reports case under control." Scorpion was never seen or heard from again after her departure from that rendezvous. On 16 February 1944, Steelhead(SS-280) and Scorpion were warned that they were close together, and that an enemy submarine was in the vicinity.

No Japanese information indicates that the loss of the Scorpion was the result of enemy anti-submarine tactics. There were, however, several naval mine lines across the entrance to the Yellow Sea. The presence of these mine lines and the "restricted area" bounding them was discovered from captured Japanese Notices to Mariners at a much later date. In the meantime several submarines had made patrols in this area, crossing and recrossing the mine lines without incident, and coming safely home. It is probable that these mine lines were very thin, offering only about a 10 percent threat to submarines at maximum, and steadily decreasing in effectiveness with the passage of time. Scorpion was lost soon after these mines were laid, at a time when they were the greatest threat. She could have been an operational casualty, but her area consisted of water shallow enough so that it might be expected that some men would have survived. Since there are no known survivors, the most reasonable assumption is that she hit a mine.
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World War II/Submarine War Patrols
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Last Updated:
Nov 10, 2009
Personal Memories

on 13 October, departed Pearl Harbor for her third war patrol. After touching at Midway Island on 17 October, she headed for the Mariana Islands, where she reconnoitered Pagan Island and Agrihan Island on 25 October and 26 October, and Farallon de Pajoras on 1 November and 2 November. On the last date, she struck an uncharted pinnacle; but suffering no apparent damage, continued her patrol. On 3 November, she was off Maug; and, two days later, she sighted her first target, a Mogami class cruiser. Squalls interfered, however, and she abandoned the target after a four-hour chase. On 7 November, she was back off Agrihan; and, on 8 November, she closed with a freighter, which turned and gave chase. The freighter was a Q-ship, a warship disguised as a merchantman. Unable to regain the advantage, Scorpion retired.

Poor weather continued to plague the submarine's hunting until, on 13 November, she sighted a freighter and a tanker escorted by three warships. Firing her torpedoes, she scored on the oiler, which went dead in the water. One of the escorts dropped depth charges, then rejoined the formation. On 14 November, Scorpion patrolled near Rota; and, on 15 November, she watched for targets off Saipan.

For the next week, the submarine continued to work the shipping lanes of the Mariana Islands without success. Heavy seas and squalls continued to shelter enemy traffic. On 22 November, she sighted a transport accompanied by two destroyers and a corvette. She stalked the formation for 16 hours but was unable to fire. A few hours later, low on fuel, she headed home.

My Photos From This Battle or Operation
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  498 Also There at This Battle:
  • Azer, John, CAPT, 1948
  • Betty, Charles, PO2, 1945
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