Henry Wilton Bransom
Colonel, United States Marine Corps
Henry Wilton Bransom was born 6 March 1901 in Forrestville, Maryland. One of seven children, he left Eastern High School in Washington, D.C. and enlisted in the Marine Corps on 31 July 1918, for "the duration of the war." As a 5' 8", 136 pounds recruit at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina, he qualified as a sharpshooter on 20 September 1918. Following graduation, he sailed for France and combat against the Germans. Embarkation was aboard the USS Pocahontas.
The initial service record book entry stated "ashore in France and serving with Army." On 2 December 1918, he joined Machine Gun Bn, 5th Brigade. There is no additional information until his return to Hampton Roads, Virginia, in August 1919. On 27 August 1919, he was discharged as a Private with a character of discharge as excellent. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and the World War I Victory Medal with France Clasp.
Subsequent to the war, he finished high school, attended George Washington University for two years and then transferred to the National University where obtained his Law Degree.
In 1926, he began a long career with the National Savings and Trust, Washington, DC. He quite rapidly progressed to Trust Officer, Vice President. This was during an era where Vice-president meant "second in command."
Almost immediately after Pearl Harbor, he applied for commissioning in the USMCR. Headquarters Marine Corps turned him down on three occasions. Nut in July of 1942, several letters of support were delivered to the Commandant, and on 25 September 1942, he was commissioned a Captain in the USMCR. Following some very rudimentary training, he was assigned as a recruiting officer, Washington, DC. Apparently, he made quota as he stayed on in this capacity unit October 1943, when he was accepted into the world of aviation as the tender age of 42. Promotion to Major was 21 May 1943. He completed training at the Naval Radar Training School, MOS 6170, Aviation Control Officer, and began his FMF tour with the 9th Marine Air Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, although most of his time alternated between Atlantic Field and Bogue Field.
On 22 February, he embarked aboard the USS Allendale (APA-127) at Pearl Harbor. On 4 April 1945, he went ashore on Okinawa where he was assigned as the Operations Officer in the Air Defense Control Center. He remained on the rock until 26 September 1945.
Following the war he was able to retain his reserve commission through numerous periods of ADT. On 15 October 1949, he was assigned as the Commanding Officer, MACS-24, Anacostia, MD. Almost immediately after the beginning of the Korean War, he was recalled to active duty and served in Korea from 5 August 1950 until December 1951. On 1 January 1951, he was promoted to LtCol and subsequently assigned as the Commanding Officer Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron-2. MTACS-2 Mission was to control close air support for 1st Marine Division, radar blind bombing, and air traffic control for 1st MAW.
Following his return from Korea, he left active duty and resumed command of MACS-24. He held this command from February 1952 until 30 June 1956. From July 1956, until his retirement, he served with MARG-7 (Volunteer Training Unit). On 1 November 1959, he was promoted to Colonel. On 1 October 1961, he retired and immediately began drawing reserve retired pay.
In the Old Corps, personal awards were sparse. Colonel Bransom had no personal awards during three wars, but the World War I Victory Medal with France clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Bronze Star for Okinawa Gunto Operation, and the Korean Service Medal with three stars for four offensives distinguished him as an Old Corps warrior.
Colonel Bransom's wife, after 53 years of marriage, died in July 1979, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Only seven months later, 22 January 1980, Colonel Bransom died. He was buried alongside his wife with full military honors.
Photo courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006
BRANSOM, HENRY W
BRANSOM, FLORENCE L