John "Babe" Brown was in the Annapolis Naval Academy Graduating Class of 1914.
Commanding Officer of submarines USS C-2 (SS-13, Stingray) and USS G-4 (SS-26, Thrasher) in World War I, then N-5 and R-2 1919-1921, S-42 1924-1927 and Narwhal May 1930-May 1933. In October 1930, while Brown was in command of the USS V-5 submarine it set a U. S. Navy record by diving to a depth of 332 feet. He graduated from the Naval War College in 1940. Commanding Officer of the Richmond 1941-1942. Commander of Submarine Squadron Four June 1942-November 1943. Rear Admiral in January 1943.
He was assigned to SUBCOMPAC commander at the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor during WWII. This was after Commander Rear Admiral Robert English was killed in a plane crash in January of 1943. Captain Brown took over the duties of Admiral English until a replacement could be found. He was relieved of his temporary command by Rear Admiral Charles Lockwood Jr. who was assigned to that command.
Brown remained on Lockwood's staff and before the war ended. Lockwood had him promoted to Rear Admiral. His commands were Sea of Japan patrols, Submarine Squadron Four. His other accomplishments included a training program, torpedo tests and orginization of wolf packs. Brown was a wonderful officer and worked endlessly to keep the war effort going.
He was the Commander of Submarine Training Command from 1943 to 1945 where he was instrumental in creating the Submarine Lifeguard League that rescued pilots that were shot down in combat during WW II. He became a Vice Admiral upon retirement in February 1954.
Brown was born in Canton, Pennsylvania, in 1891. He attended the United States Military Academy where he played college football. He was selected as a consensus first-team guard on the 1913 College Football All-America Team. He accounted for all of Navy's points (two field goals) in a 6 to 0 victory in the 1913 Army–Navy Game.
He graduated in 1914 with the rank of ensign. Brown later served as president of the National Football Foundation and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. He was also selected in 1951 by a board of Navy football authorities as the greatest player in Navy football history.
Navy decorations included Distinguished Service Medals and Legion of Merit (twice). He was the founder of the Submarine Lifeguard League, formed in early 1943 until August 1945. In doing so, a total of 518 Airmen were rescued from a watery grave or certain capture by the enemy.